Korean duo Si Woo Kim and Tom Kim have only one objective at this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, which is to have fun. And lots of it.
The Kims made an 11th hour decision to compete as a team at this week’s US$8.6 million PGA TOUR stop at TPC Louisiana and are now pumped to challenge for the tournament, which features 80 two-man teams competing in Four-Ball and Foursomes over the four days of competition.
“I’m looking forward to playing with Tom this week,” said Si Woo, a four-time PGA TOUR winner. “We had so much fun together at the Presidents Cup last year and with this week’s format, I think we will have a good time together. We get on really well and our games click. Our intention is to just enjoy ourselves here and hopefully we will bring the best out of each other again.”
When Tom made his way onto the PGA TOUR last season where he has since won twice, the 20-year-old rising star hung out with Si Woo in Dallas so much that they have become firm friends.
In the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow last September, they teamed up in Saturday’s Four-Ball session and produced one of the great wins with a 1-up victory over Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, who are the defending champions at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
“Obviously we talked about this way before,” said Tom. “We were both kind of thinking about it but when the schedule came out, it was a bit tough and we were planning on taking the week off. Both of us didn’t have the best week last week and we were like saying ‘let’s go out and have some fun’,” said Tom, who is presently 15th on the FedExCup points list.
Both players missed the halfway cut at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town last week which extended their spell without a top-10 since January. Tom won the Shriners Children’s Open last October while Si Woo triumph in the Sony Open in Hawaii in January.
Tom, who is seven years younger than Si Woo, said their games are so similar that it simply made sense for them to be partners again. “We’ve had success in the Presidents Cup, so we knew we are a good duo. Kind of happened and kind of happy, and I think we’ll just go out to have fun this week. That’s the biggest thing,” said Tom, who enjoyed two top-10s at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and The American Express in January.
“We don’t really get team events and our games are pretty similar. If you look at our stats, our driving distance or whatever it is, our strength and stuff, we’re kind of close and that’s’ what great teams are and that’s how great partnerships work because of how close we are too. The experience at the Presidents Cup will help us this week as the trust and believe is there.”
At Quail Hollow, Tom produced two special moments on the 18th hole on that memorable Saturday afternoon Four-Ball match alongside Si Woo. First, he rifled a stunning 2 iron approach and then rolled in a curling 10-foot birdie putt for a vital point which sparked wild celebrations. It kept the International Team in the match against a star-studded U.S. Team, which eventually won the Presidents Cup 17.5 to 12.5 points.
Si Woo was the International Team’s leading performer with three points during the week, including a stunning Singles win over Justin Thomas while Tom, who was making his debut, delivered two points which included a Foursomes win alongside K.H. Lee against Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns.
Other Asian stars in this week’s field include Korea’s Byeong Hun An/S.H. Kim, Sung Kang/Sangmoon Bae, Korea’s Sungjae Im who will partner Keith Mitchell, China’s Marty Zecheng Dou and Zac Blair, Korean S.Y. Noh alongside Michael Kim and China’s Carl Yuan with Tyson Alexander.
Collin Morikawa/Max Homa, Sam Burns/Billy Horschel and Justin Suh/Sahith Theegala will start the week as contenders as well. The halfway cut on Friday will see the leading 33 teams and ties progressing into the weekend rounds.
Korea’s K.J. Choi and S.Y. Noh won the Zurich Classic in 2002 and 2014 respectively when the event’s format was individual strokeplay before it changed to the team format in 2017.