Korean PGA Tour veteran Kim Si-woo knows he isn't always the most calm and poised golfer under duress; sometimes, his competitive fire can get the better of him.
But on Sunday in China, Kim was able to keep his emotions in check long enough to help South Korea to the gold medal in the men's golf team competition at the Asian Games.
"I am so proud to represent the country and win this gold medal," Kim said after South Korea destroyed the competition to win the team gold by 25 shots over Thailand at West Lake International Golf Course in Hangzhou. "I always think the biggest key for me is to keep my emotions under control. It's not always easy for me, but I made sure I wouldn't disappoint our fans supporting the national team. I am proud of myself for winning this gold."
Kim and fellow PGA Tour pro Im Sung-jae teamed up with amateurs Jang Yu-bin and Cho Woo-young for the team title here. Kim more than held up his end of the bargain, shooting 23-under 265 to finish fourth in the individual event. The three best scores from the four golfers were added each round to determine the team standings.
He and Im benefited from a recent change that opened the Asian Games doors to professional golfers for the first time, an opportunity Kim cherished.
"I grew up playing for the country quite a bit, but after turning pro, I didn't have many opportunities to do so," said Kim, who had played at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. "Wearing the national flag again brought back some of the fond memories of playing for the country."
Kim said he felt he and Im had so much to lose at the Asian Games, because they were two of the biggest names in the field. Kim is a four-time tour winner with the prestigious Players Championship title to his name. Im won the 2018-19 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award and has two victories to his name.
And when the Asian Games got postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kim grew even more anxious.
"I figured it was gold or nothing for us, and that stressed me out quite a bit," he said. "And for the guys to come through in this must-win situation, I am really happy."
Kim said he had never met Cho and Jang before this competition, and he's leaving China duly impressed with the two amateurs' potential.
"They are great guys, very humble and down-to-earth. They have great physical tools. They already hit it longer than I do, and I think they're good enough to play on the PGA Tour someday."
He also thanked his golfer wife, Oh Ji-hyun, who is staying in their U.S. home while expecting the couple's first child.
"She knows how hard I've had to work for this. I can't wait to go see her," Kim said. "Ever since I married her, only good things have been happening in my career." (Yonhap)