April 24th, 2024

16-year-old English amateur sensation Kris Kim will make his PGA Tour debut at next week’s THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch.

A star of the 2023 Junior Ryder Cup, Kim will be facing the biggest test of his golfing life in Texas just weeks before sitting his GCSE examinations back home in Surrey.

The teenager enjoyed a sparkling 2023 that included victories in the Boys’ Amateur Championship, European Boys’ Individual Championship and the McGregor Trophy.

The highlight of the year, however, was a stunning undefeated performance on debut in the Junior Ryder Cup that saw him claim three wins and a half in Europe’s first victory in the match since 2006.

Last May, Kim was unveiled as the very first amateur golfer to be sponsored by the CJ Group, joining a world class stable of professional golfers that includes Sungjae Im, Si Woo Kim, KH Lee and Byeong Hun An.

His signing was inspired by the Korea-based company, CJ’s ethos of: “Talented young player, growing together, becoming a global No. 1.” 

Having experienced the thrill of playing on the Ryder Cup course during the practice days, in front of the sport’s biggest galleries, the youngster is now thrilled by the prospect of actually competing against the stars of the game.

In-between revising for his upcoming examinations – both on and off the course – the England golfer said: “I’m so excited to tee it up in Texas. It’s what you work towards all the time and it’s an amazing opportunity.

“I can’t wait to play in front of big crowds again. I’ve never hit the ball as far as I did at the Ryder Cup. The adrenalin rush makes golf so much fun. That said, having played that course, and a few more tour courses, I appreciate the task ahead and look forward to the challenge.”

Ethan Kim, Director of Sports Marketing at CJ Group, said: “When I first saw Kris, I was very impressed by his passion for golf and his challenge to become No. 1 in the world. I hope that his first appearance in a PGA TOUR tournament will be a good opportunity for him to achieve his big dream.”

Kim may be young but he has an impressive pedigree in the sport. His mother Ji-Hyun Suh was one of the Korean pioneers who competed on the LPGA in the 1990s and inspired the wave of success that has been maintained ever since in both the men’s and women’s game.

“I’ll definitely ask my mum for advice,” he said. “It is going to be a very different environment and you don’t know how you will respond to it. She’ll help me deal with it. She’s my coach and we talk about everything from dealing with nerves, taking one shot at a time, leaving bad shots behind and keeping it simple right through to course strategy.

“My first aim is to make the cut and then see what happens. At the end of the day I’m one of 144 competitors and we’ve all got a chance. Whatever happens it’s going to be super helpful for my future because I’ll gain so much experience. I know I’m still young and pretty much every week I learn a lesson, but this week is going to be a lot bigger!”

Kim’s progress will be aided by the unprecedented support of two other sponsors.  

He is the first European amateur to be signed to an NIL (Name Image Likeness) contract by Under Armour and the first British amateur to sign an NIL deal with TaylorMade.

“Under Armour have helped me for some time now,” Kim said. “I’m very grateful for their support and very happy to continue the partnership.”

Kevin Ross, Managing Director at Under Armour EMEA, said: “It’s great to be working with such an exciting talent as Kris. His hard work ethic and humble nature aligns with the values of Under Armour perfectly. We look forward to supporting Kris reach his goals over the coming years.”

Of his equipment deal Kim said: “I’m a huge Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy fan so when they signed for TaylorMade I desperately wanted to use their clubs too. I’ve been doing so for three years and signing for them is very exciting.”

Over the next week, teenagers around the country will be attempting to focus on their GCSEs. Many will be distracted and Kim is no different – he just has a particularly good excuse.

“I am trying to revise, I promise, but it’s quite tough!” he said with a laugh. “My schedule is quite busy right now.”

In a good omen, Kim defeated the 15-year-old American Miles Russell 5&4 in the final day singles at the Junior Ryder Cup and Russell finished T20th on the Korn Ferry Tour’s Suncoast Classic just last week in Florida.

Kim is part of the impressive young team at Trinifold Sports that includes English DP World Tour stars Sam Bairstow and Will Enefer, plus John Gough who recently turned professional following an elite amateur career. Trinifold remains dedicated to not only becoming a leader in the golf industry but also maintaining a passion to do the right thing.


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