Kim ea­ger to de­fend Play­ers ti­tle

Afro Voice (Free State) - - SPORT - SEOUL

AF­TER be­com­ing the youngest golfer to win the Play­ers Cham­pi­onship in 2017, South Korea’s Kim Si-woo has now set his sights on be­ing the first to suc­cess­fully de­fend the ti­tle when he re­turns to TPC Saw­grass in May.

The Seoul na­tive stunned a strong field last year to win the PGA Tour’s flag­ship event when he was 21 years old, his vic­tory com­ing six years af­ter com­pa­triot KJ Choi also took the ti­tle.

If Kim de­fends his ti­tle at the $10.5m (R124m) tour­na­ment from May 10-13 this year, he would be the first to do so since it was es­tab­lished in 1974.

“Some­one told me there hasn’t been any back-to-back champion and I’ve no­ticed a lot of cham­pi­ons who come back don’t play well,” 22-year-old Kim said at a me­dia event at TPC Saw­grass in Florida on Mon­day.

“I would like to change that and I’m al­ready pre­par­ing to come back and de­fend my ti­tle this year.”

Kim said re­turn­ing to the scene of his big­gest vic­tory con­jured up many happy mem­o­ries.

“To see my picture up on the wall and to drive up to this course, it brings back a lot of mem­o­ries and even though all tour­na­ments are great, I would like to come back and win this one and de­fend my ti­tle.”

Kim, ranked 53rd in the world, said that while it was an hon­our to have won the same ti­tle as Choi, he had a long way to go to match­ing the feats of the South Korean trailblazer, who has won eight times on the elite US tour.

“I don’t think I’m quite there yet. Ob­vi­ously KJ has a lot more wins and a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence. I only have two wins. But I def­i­nitely hope to be as great by hav­ing more wins and play­ing on the tour.”

Kim also said he was glad to be re­turn­ing to full fit­ness af­ter his form was ham­pered by a back prob­lem.

He added that it was great to see Tiger Woods, who won the Play­ers in 2001 and 2013, re­turn­ing to the tour af­ter re­cov­er­ing from back surgeries. – Reuters

PICTURE: AFP

GREENER PAS­TURES: Kim Si-woo of South Korea.

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