Tom Kim, 21, reached a new career-high of 11th in the Official World Golf Ranking following his win Sunday at the Shriners Children’s Open.
The Shriners Children’s Open was Kim’s third PGA TOUR victory, and second in a row at TPC Summerlin. He is the youngest player since Tiger Woods to win three PGA TOUR titles.
Kim now has a chance to reach the top 10 for the first time. He would be the youngest top-10 player in the world by five years. FedExCup champion Viktor Hovland, who’s currently fourth in the world, is 26 years old.
Kim started the year ranked 15th in the world and reached a career-high of 13th after finishing fifth at The Sentry and sixth in The American Express in January. He fell to 25th, however, after failing to post a top-10 between The American Express and the U.S. Open (T8) in June. He had two top-10s over the summer: at the Genesis Scottish Open and a runner-up finish at The Open Championship.
Kim has finished in the top 25 in his last eight worldwide events, including five top-10s. That includes his success in Scotland, a T10 at the second FedExCup Playoffs event, the BMW Championship, and T6 at the DP World Tour’s Cazoo Open de France. Kim also qualified for his second consecutive TOUR Championship.
The success coincides with a switch to swing coach Chris Como during the late summer and has come despite an ankle injury that he suffered at The Open and forced him to withdraw from the Wyndham Championship, where he won his first PGA TOUR title.
“It was so hard for me to be at home the week of Wyndham,” Kim said Sunday. “It was very frustrating personally as a player because it was my first win, and I was so determined to come back to Shriners at least being healthy and at least have a chance to win as a defending champion. Winning this week is just making me miss that week even more, my first win. Not to have even a chance to compete out there, as a player, it’s hard.”
At the current rate he is playing factored in with his youth, Kim will likely have many more title defense opportunities ahead of him.