Paul McGinley reflects on an impressive victory for Si Woo Kim at the Players Championship and looks at what the future may hold for Asian golf.
For me, the best player won in Si Woo Kim. He got control of the golf tournament on the front nine with three birdies, and then controlled the whole back nine like an experienced pro.
He’s the youngest-ever winner of The Players Championship and didn’t take any chances on that back nine. That was a really good lesson in how to win a golf tournament and he’s a deserved winner.
We talk about the mental zone that elite sports people get in and he was certainly in that today. The only time I saw him get out of it was on the 16th when he stopped to watch Ian Poulter play on the screen, but that didn’t affect him.
That was a very mature performance from the 21-year-old here. Kim showed no form this year prior to this week and yet he went out there and behaved like a seasoned veteran.
Some of the short game stuff he played was so good that if it had been Seve Ballesteros or someone like that we’d have been lauding it up. He showed a variety of shots from all areas of the green.
Nobody came at him and really exerted pressure on him. We expected the likes of JB Holmes and Louis Oosthuizen, the pedigree guys, to do so but that never really materialised.
Ian Poulter played lovely but never made a putt outside of 20 feet all week and couldn’t get his nose in front. Kim saw that lack of pressure and let the holes peter out.
We’ve seen the Korean ladies dominate the sport and we haven’t seen the men come through in the same kind of manner, but maybe we’re going to see it now.
There have been a lot of Asian players who have reached this level and won big tournaments and then stagnated a little bit going forward. Hopefully, we’ll see one of them kick on and go on to win a major, which would really make a statement in a world of golf.