Tom Kim starts the new year with a new sponsor and a swoosh

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — He was listed as Joohyung Kim when he played in the 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park as an 18-year-old, and when he nearly won the Genesis Scottish Open last summer on a sponsor exemption.

Now he is known by his nickname – Tom Kim – and by his game. The 20-year-old South Korean won the Wyndham Championship, delivered a big performance at the Presidents Cup and outdueled Patrick Cantlay in Las Vegas at the Shriners Children’s Open.

He is also the last member of the Nike family.

Kim arrived in Kapalua with the Swoosh on his cap, shirt and shoes, part of an endorsement deal he signed during the brief offseason.

“It’s very cool for me,” Kim said. “Nike is definitely a brand where they only look at top players and I’m very, very grateful they thought about me. I think it’s a great move. It looks cool and I’m happy to be part of the Swoosh team .”

He was previously sponsored by South Korea-based conglomerate CJ Corp., the title sponsor of the CJ Cup on the PGA Tour and seen on the caps and apparel of several South Korean players such as Sungjae Im, KH Lee and Si Woo Kim.

It’s a deal that reflects a more global nature of Tom Kim, who is already popular among his peers with his game and sense of humor. Kim was born in South Korea and his family moved to Australia, and later to the Philippines.

“I wanted people to see on TV that I’m Korean, but I’m also not just Asian,” said Kim, who speaks Korean and English with equal ease, and knows a little Tagalog. “I’m the only Asian golfer on the Nike team.”

KJ Choi, a pioneer for men’s golf in South Korea, was with Nike during its peak years.

Also important to Kim was his time, and with minimal sponsorship, that helps.

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“The timing was a big thing, and a clean look and being with a global brand was a big thing for me,” he said.

Trump International to host ladies European tour

The Saudi-backed Aramco Series on the Ladies European Tour brings women’s golf back to Trump International Golf Club in Florida.

The LET announced a major upgrade to its 2023 schedule, which will feature 30 tournaments including the Solheim Cup in Spain, played for nearly $40 million (35 million euros) in 21 countries.

Aramco (Saudi Arabian Oil Company) sponsors six tournaments. This includes the $5 million Aramco Saudi Ladies International, the largest in women’s golf outside of the five majors and the CME Group Tour Championship on the LPGA Tour. The field will feature 60 players from the LET and 50 from the top 300 in the world.

The Aramco Series, tournaments previously won by Nelly Korda and Lexi Thompson, has five tournaments in Singapore, Florida, London, Asia and Saudi Arabia.

The Florida stop is Trump International in West Palm Beach and previously hosted the season-ending ADT Championship on the LPGA Tour. It was last played in 2008. It is scheduled for May 19-21. The LPGA Tour is off this week, playing the previous week in New Jersey (Founders Cup) and the following week in Las Vegas (Match Play).

“The LET has grown rapidly over the past three years and we have been oversubscribed for our last K-School, demonstrating the record level of interest,” said Alexandra Armas, the tour’s CEO. “The LET now provides a platform for women to build successful careers and achieve their dreams in professional golf.”

The season starts February 2-5 in Kenya and ends November 23-26 with the Andalucia Costa Del Sol Open in Spain.

Lasting impression

Puerto Rico Open winner Ryan Brehm had a lot of exposure to golf growing up in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. For starters, his grandfather started a golf course designed by Mount Pleasant native and former PGA Tour player Dan Pohl called PohlCat.

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Brehm was not even a teenager when another native of Har Nahat used to come along. That would be Kelly Robbins, a nine-time LPGA Tour winner who has among the best swings on tour.

“Kelly would come home and she would work out sometimes,” Brehm said.

He said that Robbins often came out with her father to hit balls and fish, and he recalls once Robbins brought a friend of the LPGA – World Golf Hall of Fame member Carrie Webb.

“I’d be over there practicing and Carrie Webb would be there,” Brehm said. “I was watching Kelly Robbins and Carrie Webb hit 9 irons at the pin and it was like, ‘Wow, that’s impressive.’ Every shot was a laser beam. The ball flew right. It was compressed. I’d go over there and look at the divots and they were laid out like dollar bills. It was very beautiful to see.”

Brehm is making his debut in the Sentry Tournament of Champions as a first-time PGA Tour winner.

International television

The PGA Tour and Warner Bros. Discovery have restructured their 12-year, $2 billion deal signed in 2018, a move that allows the tour to carry international media rights in most markets than before.

What does this mean for viewers of Discovery-owned GolfTV, which was shuttered last month? Not much at all.

Discovery was the exclusive international distributor of PGA Tour content through GolfTV. PGA Tour coverage now will be available via Eurosport or Discovery+ in most European markets and some in Latin America.

The PGA Tour will manage international media rights for other markets, as before 2019.

“We are pleased that the restructured relationship will not disrupt viewership in 2023,” the tour said in a letter to its media partners.

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Warner Bros. Discovery said in a statement that the company has changed to meet consumers’ viewing habits.

“In an evolving media landscape, we’ve found that including sports in a broader consumer proposition provides greater value to subscribers and their wider household, as well as opening sports to an even bigger audience,” the company said.


Patrick Cantlay, the number 4 player in the world, is a free agent in the equipment market. He arrived in Kapalua with a black bag after his title deal expired and Kantlai chose not to renew it. Representatives from Callaway and Ping approached him about sending him clubs to try. Cantlay holds titleist in the bag for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. … The Official World Golf Ranking has a new member. It says a 5-year-old development circuit supported by the Mexico Golf Federation will be included in the OWGR system this year. The name of the tour is the Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana. … Adam Scott is coming from a long break in Australia. He plays both Hawaii tournaments and then back down under until the Genesis Invitational at Riviera in mid-February. … Scott Langley is now leading player relations for the USGA, taking over when Jason Gore went to work for the PGA Tour. Langley retired in 2021 after a decade on the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour.

State of the week

Ryan Brehm finished 2022 by missing the cut in his last nine tournaments. The Sentry Tournament of Champions is his first time playing a tournament with no cut.

Last word

“The only reason I came and played the PGA Tour was so that when I played majors, they felt like every other event.” – Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland.


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