Sihwan Kim won twice on the Asian Tour last year but has admitted he has had a “rough last few months” on the golf course that even led to him aiming at hazards due to having a two-way miss off the tee for four months.
The American, a former US Junior Amateur champion and Stanford alumnus, plays for Kevin Na’s Iron Heads GC team in the LIV Golf League and was described as LIV’s “worst player” by Sports Illustrated.
Kim currently ranks 49th in the 48-man LIV Golf League, behind stand-in reserves, where he has finished in last place in half of the events this season and has a best result of 43rd. He is 48-over-par for six LIV events this season. In Boston last year, he infamously had a 24-shot swing over two days with an 87 and a 63.
Despite his struggles, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Kim has made the cut at the brutally difficult PGA Championship this week in just his second Major start with a two-under-par 68 on Friday getting him in at three-over-par after 36 holes.
Kim spoke in an interview at Oak Hill of how his confidence had disappeared in his slump this year, especially off the tee, and his struggles certainly sound bad.
“You go to a course where it’s very tight and you start missing it,” he said, “and then your confidence goes.”
“You’re standing there, and let’s say there’s out of bounds right and a hazard left, and at one point I’m trying to put it in the hazard so you can go up and drop rather than being back at the tee.
“That’s pretty much how bad it got and how my mindset was at one point.
“It’s been a two-way miss for four months. And obviously a one-way miss is a lot easier to fix. But when you start missing both ways …”
While Kim is clearly playing much better this week, he’ll need to continue his form as only the top-24 LIV players are guaranteed to make it to next year’s league and the top four can be automatically relegated back to the Asian Tour.
Kim has earned $742,500 in his six starts this year and will earn a guaranteed $1m in the next eight events where $125,000 goes to the last-place finisher. If he wants the riches to continue next year, he knows he needs to start playing better.
“I’m just happy to be there,” Kim said. “I barely secured my card last year and I just thought this whole LIV thing was a bonus for me. The difference in purses is great from the Asian Tour and the card thing is not on my mind.”
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