PGA Tour veteran Kim Si-woo wants to stay cool, calm and collect trophies

January 10, 2024

Still only 28 years old, South Korean golfer Kim Si-woo is already a veteran on the PGA Tour, having first played on the top men’s circuit as a teenager in 2013.

Over the past decade or so, the four-time champion has learned the importance of the mental game of golf. And as he gears up for his title defense at the Sony Open in Hawaii in Honolulu this week, Kim said Wednesday staying more composed on the course is one of his resolutions for the new season.

The fiery player has admittedly struggled with keeping his emotions in check in the past.

“Whenever I hit a bad shot, I used to show my frustration on the outside. I would have difficulty controlling my emotions and get visibly upset,” Kim said from Waialae Country Club during an online press conference with South Korean media. “It’s something my parents and my wife often pointed out. Starting this year, I will try not to be so demonstrative with my emotions. My mindset now is to forget about a bad shot quickly and focus on the next play, instead of letting my frustration boil over. I want to stay positive, no matter how poorly I play.”

At every chance he’s had, Kim has thanked his wife, former Korean LPGA Tour star Oh Ji-hyun, for keeping him grounded and serving as his rock. The two tied the knot in December 2022 and traveled to Hawaii together for Kim’s Sony Open appearance.

What the couple had planned as a workation-like honeymoon ended up being Kim’s fourth career PGA Tour title. The newlyweds left Honolulu US$1.42 million richer too.

“After getting married, I started feeling much more settled down,” Kim said. “While we were dating, we were still playing on our own tours, and so we couldn’t be together that much. But we’re always together now, and having her by my side puts my mind at ease even when I am not playing well.”

Kim and Oh are expecting their first child in March, and Kim said this week’s Sony Open will be the last tournament Oh will attend before that.

“I always enjoy opening the season in Hawaii and winning last year’s tournament with my wife here is the best memory I have of this place,” Kim said. “I am really happy to be back here with her.”

Kim said he wants to build on some solid performances from last week’s season opener, The Sentry, in Kapalua, Hawaii. Kim made only three bogeys over 72 holes there while shooting a 20-under 272 to tie for 25th. He had bogey-free rounds on Friday and Sunday.

“Coming off a long winter break, I didn’t think my game was that sharp, and I was worried that I hadn’t practiced enough,” Kim said. “I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my game after the first day. But I went into the second round looking to be more aggressive, and I was able to regain my confidence. If I can play with the same type of conviction this week, I should have a good tournament.”

Kim will try to become only the second South Korean to defend a PGA Tour title, after Lee Kyoung-hoon won back-to-back AT&T Byron Nelson titles in 2021-2022.

Kim didn’t pick up another win last season after his Sony Open victory, though he recorded four more top-10 finishes and qualified for the season-ending Tour Championship.

“I wanted to add another win after the Sony Open, but I still gave myself a couple of cracks,” Kim said. “I was satisfied with how the season played out. I felt like I played really steady golf, and hopefully I can continue to do that this year. I would love to win at least one tournament and qualify for the Tour Championship again in 2024.”