May
14
2017
Tidbits from Sunday at The Players: The youngest and the old shine (and/or “shank”)
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Here we go again. I know this is like standard operating procedure these days, but I’m no longer in my 20s (that ship sailed a while ago), and while I used to be able to multitask and do the job of eight people, that simply was not sustainable. I need to do a better job at adapting or adjusting to the times now that I’m no longer the new kid on the block. Yeah, I’m one of those grizzled, cynical veterans now! OK, not totally, but for longtime readers, you know what I mean.

Oh, so it’s now 1am and I’m in yet another delirious, exhausted, probably slightly-dehydrated state, which, as we know, results in rambling nonsensical garble and I should stop right now and delete, but you guys seemed to enjoy the … “entertaining” crap that I produced earlier this week, so I’m here to give the people what they want!

I am working on a story re: golf in China, which means that all my contacts/sources are on the other side of the world and that’s my top priority at the moment because I’m not my own boss, like I am here. So, while I spent 5-6 out on the course covering the Players this afternoon and then multitask and at least catch both Ian Poulter and Si Woo Kim’s pressers, I also just spent the last 4-5 hours on the phone with several wonderful people in Asia — incredibly engaging conversations and super informative and intriguing information.

But that’s besides the point, I’m spent and I have SO MUCH TO SAY about The Players, too. I mean, Si Woo Kim and I go WAY back, even though he doesn’t know it, but I remember him from the last-ever PGA Tour Q-School in 2012 (RIP). It was a fascinating and complicated situation. (BTW, Q-school is the gift that keeps on giving — I used to have all this info collected from covering Q-school that I’d be able to break out whenever guys that were new and/or relative unknowns happened to win the following year. Almost five years later and here we are! And I’ll never forget this one.)

At the time, Kim was only 17 years old, and previously an amateur. He ended up becoming the youngest-ever Q-school grad when he finished T20. However, it was a sort of unfortunate situation because despite qualifying for the PGA Tour, he was too young to become a member because you have to be 18 years old — and his birthday is near the end of June. So, that meant with the reshuffle and all the regulations and technicalities, he would likely only get a handful of starts at best.

It was tricky to communicate with him back then because no one on his team spoke English, so we had other English-speaking Korean managers attempt to translate and/or help us out on this case. READ THE STORY FROM 2012. But, in short, on his Q-school registration form, he filled it out and checked the box that indicated he was playing as a professional. Which was not an error and indeed intentional. However, had he played as an amateur, he would have had the option of deferring his Tour card to the following season (2013-14 — when the whole wraparound schedule thing started).

With a few sponsor’s exemptions, Kim turned out to make eight starts on the PGA Tour, where he missed seven cuts and withdrew from the other.

Everything happens for a reason. On Sunday he added “youngest-ever to win the Players Championship” to his resume. Those are two decent achievements.

What were you doing at 21? No worries, I don’t remember, either. (Obviously, we were doing keg stands and/or playing beer pong and blacked out at a college party and/or bar, among other super cool stupid shit, like four-foot bong rips, if that kind of thing were legal, of course.)

There’s that cliched saying out on Tour that if a player is talented and good enough, no matter the obstacles and disadvantages with regard to the “system,” he will find a way to overcome it and make his way into the bigs. Again, it’s an annoying platitude, but it’s proven true time after time. And in retrospect, it was likely beneficial for Kim to spend a few years on the Web.com Tour to grow and prepare for the PGA Tour instead of becoming a full-out member right out the gate. Another cliche: some times kids, like Si Woo, obviously, might be overwhelmed if they go straight to the PGA Tour, especially international players (European players, like Rory don’t count, because of the excellent system afforded to him by the government), and it can be damaging to the morale when you get your ass kicked and don’t make a cut all season.

I wouldn’t say 2013 was a full season in the least for Kim, obviously, since he only had eight starts, but he also didn’t make a cut, so…

Anyway, I’ve rambled for long enough and just written stream of consciousness, so I’m sure I’ll wake up and wish I hadn’t published this and waited to write properly and the entire post in one sitting, but no turning back now!

I think I delivered decently despite the two-day delay of the post earlier this week, so I promise to do the same again. I mean, it was a weird day, but hey, look at all those big names that shot 80+, including 54-hole co-leader J.B. Holmes, who shot a record-high 84! Then, Ian Poulter, who was given a second life (thanks to the dogged research and work of Brian Gay), took full advantage of this opportunity and finished T2. He even SHANKED his second shot on the 72nd hole. And if you ask him to confirm if it was indeed a “shank,” he will say, “it was a lovely one,” and then even offer to spell it for you!

This also happened on Wednesday which I failed to mention because I didn’t think anyone would believe me and I don’t wanna go into the details since it’s been erased from my memory, so Google it or deal with it. But hey, it’s all good. I mean, when he saw me today (after his presser), I didn’t say anything and he simply greeted me with a hug before I could even say, “Good playing.” Yep, it’s kinda bizarre, but hey, crazier things are happening these days.

BE BACK ATCHA WITH A FULL REPORT ON EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TOMORROW OR WHENEVER! I’m not going to put a set time on it because it’s a travel day and I’ll be on the phone with people in Asia a bunch again, so let’s just go with the flow. You know I’m good for it!  Well, I definitely used to be 100% of the time and this week I have been, so I’d like to keep that trend going for morale purposes and my own rejuvenated second chance at life. Kinda literally. WUP 2.0 is coming at you soon. Details not tomorrow but sometime in the next month hopefully.

STAY TUNED. THANKS FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF WUP. XOXO