Asian Tour Star Joohyung Kim Earns PGA Tour Card

The South Korean could to be the subject of a tug-of-war over where he plays golf next season

Joohyung Kim has earned his PGA Tour card for next year with his 7th-place finish in the Rocket Mortgage Classic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Joohyung Kim could potentially face a huge decision over whether to join LIV Golf or play on the PGA Tour in the near future, having earned his PGA Tour card for next season with his 7th-place finish in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

The 20-year-old South Korean, one of the rising stars of the world game, was last month given Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of the season, and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, securing his Tour card for next season just two weeks later. His final round in Detroit - a nine-under-par 63 - equalled the course record, secured 7th place and gave him enough FedEx Cup points to earn the Tour card.

After his blistering final round, Kim said it “meant everything” to earn his PGA Tour card for next season. “Every day I've played golf I thought about playing on the PGA Tour, it was nothing else,” he said. “Today it could get a little emotional tonight, but it's definitely been a dream, it's been a road and hopefully next season I'll be out here full time.”

While that sounds like a definite commitment to plying his trade on the PGA Tour, Kim, who has already won twice on the Asian Tour and won the Asian Tour Order of Merit earlier this year, aged just 19, may well be a target for the Saudi-backed series. 

LIV Golf Investments recently launched The International Series along with the Asian Tour, featuring 10 tournaments across Europe and Asia. Kim posed for photos with LIV CEO Greg Norman and Asian Tour chief Cho Minn Thant and played in the International Series event at Slaley Hall in Northumberland in June, finishing 5th.

Joohyung Kim poses with Greg Norman and Cho Minn Thant

Kim with Thant and Norman 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

LIV CEO Greg Norman last week announced a massive expansion of the LIV Golf Series, with events set to be held all around the world next year, including Asia, and Bryson DeChambeau has spoken of the possibility of some of the game’s biggest stars, now signed to LIV Golf, playing Asian Tour events this year in order to earn world ranking points, given their bans from the PGA Tour.

With the temptation of playing bigger events closer to home, and the likelihood that Norman may be keen to sign the rising star of Asian golf and one of the biggest young talents in the game, Kim’s resolve to joining the PGA Tour is likely to be tested.

Kim earned his Special Temporary Membership of the PGA Tour with his tied-47th place at the Open at St Andrews last month. Special Temporary Membership, which allows unlimited sponsor exemptions, is given to players earning as many or more FedEx Cup points as No.150 on last season’s FedEx Cup list. He converted that to full full status on the PGA Tour for the 2022-23 season by earning more FedEx Cup points than the final eligible player from the 2021-22 FedEx Cup standings to qualify for the 2022 FedEx Cup Playoffs. 

Kim has won six times as a professional, with last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic finish seeing him rise to a career-high No.34 in the latest world rankings.

Jeff Kimber
Jeff Kimber

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!