“A lot of juniors are now coming to the field where I used to be alone. I will try my best while cheering on the young players.”
This is what Choi “Tank” Kyung-ju (53) said after finishing the first round of the PGA Tour Sony Open on the 13th. He did not hide his satisfaction at the recent performance of his junior golfers who raised the status of Korean men’s golf after him. In the Sony Open, where 7 Korean players including Choi Kyung-joo participated, Kim Si-woo (28) eventually won the championship. Kim Si-woo, who married professional golfer Oh Ji-hyun last month and enjoyed the joy of winning the PGA Tour almost a month after a long absence, not only received a huge amount of money (approximately 1.7 billion won) but also significantly raised his world ranking from the top 80 to the top 40 thanks to his long-awaited victory. raised it high
Over the past year, the performance of Korean male golfers has been more dazzling than ever. In particular, the so-called ‘Korean quartet’ of the PGA Tour, including Kim Si-woo, Lim Seong-jae, Lee Kyung-hoon, and Kim Joo-hyung, are very active. In May of last year, Lee Kyung-hoon won two consecutive championships at AT&T Byron Nelson, and Kim Joo-hyung created a sensation on the PGA Tour by winning the Wyndham Championship in August and the Shriners Children’s Open in October. Then, in the final match of the playoffs in August, Im Seong-jae finished runner-up, recording the best performance ever in the FedEx Cup for a Korean player. At the Presidents Cup in September, the power of K-golf was great. In addition to Kim Joo-hyung and Lee Kyung-hoon, Lim Seong-jae and Kim Si-woo, four Korean players participated in the international team only and left a strong impression. Then, Siwoo Kim won the Sony Open and continued the momentum of K-golf.
Players are at the forefront of fierce competition every week to make a steady ‘long run’ as a member of the PGA Tour in a distant country. And so far, the ‘Korean quartet’ has built an axis of the PGA Tour. Their place in the world rankings stands out. In the golf world rankings announced on the 16th, all four players were listed in the top 50 in the world. Kim Joo-hyung ranked 14th, Lim Seong-jae 19th, Lee Kyung-hoon 36th, and Kim Si-woo 41st. It is the first time that four Korean players have entered the top 50 in the world rankings in one week.
Kim Si-woo (right) and Lim Seong-jae, who participated in the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021. [Photo by Gettyimages]
It is necessary to keep an eye on this world ranking from now on. This is because of the Paris Summer Olympics in July next year. On the 13th, the International Golf Federation (IGF) announced that the world rankings to be announced as of June 17 next year will cover the players who will participate in the Paris Olympics golf. The standard is expected to be the same as the Tokyo Olympics held two years ago. Two players per country can participate in the individual Olympic golf, and up to four players can participate in countries that have four or more players within the top 15 in the world rankings. Korean women’s golf was able to secure four Olympic tickets by placing four players within the world’s 15th place during the Tokyo Olympics. In men’s golf, the U.S. secured four Olympic tickets and started the Tokyo Olympics.
The Olympics with 1 year and 6 months left may be a bit far off. However, when it comes to Korean men’s golf, the story is a little different. This is because the issue of military service, which can be an important issue for individual players, is at stake. Athletes who have achieved achievements such as winning a bronze medal in the Olympics or a gold medal in the Asian Games can receive military service benefits. Excluding Lee Kyung-hoon, who won a gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, the other three golfers, Lim Seong-jae, Kim Si-woo, and Kim Joo-hyung, have yet to fulfill their military service obligations. This is the reason why there is no choice but to have a clear sense of purpose for major comprehensive competitions. 카지노
Prior to the Olympics, the Asian Games, which will be held in Hangzhou, China in September, have important players. This is the case with Lim Seong-jae and Kim Si-woo, who were among the top two players in the world rankings when they were selected to represent the Asian Games last year. The Hangzhou Asian Games are postponed for a year due to the quarantine situation in China against Corona 19.
Although the Asian Games have been postponed, Im Seong-jae and Kim Si-woo will challenge national amateurs Jo Woo-young and Jang Yu-bin in accordance with the Korea Golf Association’s policy of continuing with the previously selected members. In the Asian Games, both individual and team events are held. There is a burden of having to win a gold medal, but compared to the Olympics, the barrier to winning a gold medal is low. Im Seong-jae said about the Asian Games early last year, “If I participate, I hope to win a gold medal in the team event or individual event. As much as 4 people are going out as a team, I want to fight and play hard together.”
Kim Joo-hyung has also expressed his will to participate in the Olympics in the past. [Photo by Gettyimages]
However, if they do not win a gold medal at the Asian Games, Im Seong-jae and Kim Si-woo should aim for the Olympics next year. The wall of players is slightly higher, and only individual competitions are held. As such, the Olympic challenge can be a little more difficult than the Asian Games. The competition gets fiercer. There is a high possibility that Kim Joo-hyung, who is unable to participate in the Asian Games, will challenge the Olympics. During the Kolon Korea Open in 2021, Kim Joo-hyung expressed his intention, “I really want to challenge with the goal of participating in (the next Olympics).” Lee Gyeong-hun, a latecomer in the current world ranking competition, also expressed his will to participate in the Olympics for the purpose of enhancing national prestige through a media interview.
‘Another competition’ among Korean male golfers has already started quietly. What is clear is that it is necessary to pay attention to ‘another challenge’ related to one’s values within a year and a half as much as the ‘Korean quartet’ taking on the PGA Tour. Next year, men’s golf’s competition for the Taegeuk mark is expected to become even more spectacular, as much as Korean women’s golf, which competed fiercely for the Olympics two years ago.
◆ ‘Kim Ji-Han’s Golf Discourse’ is intended to tell various stories of golf with all the meanings of the Chinese characters that speak (談), talk (話), convey opinions (說), and record (錄).