For sports players, Nike is another word for ‘success’. This is because Nike allows the logo to be attached only to players who have become or are likely to be the best in the world in one field. Michael Jordan (basketball), Tiger Woods (golf), and Rafael Nadal (tennis) did that. Nike recognized their potential early on, and signed a sponsorship contract by offering an astronomical amount before the coronation of the ‘Emperor’. Everyone knows the outcome of Nike’s ‘bet’.
Kim Joo-hyung (21, 14th in the world ranking) is the golfer that Nike most recently ‘steamed’. The amount of sponsorship is only known, reaching $20 million over the next five years. It is not only the largest contract amount in Korean golf history, but also one of the top 10 in the world.
In a phone interview with the Korea Economic Daily on the 11th, Kim Joo-hyung said, “(When I signed a contract with Nike), it was difficult to express how happy I was with the words I know. For the first time since he was born, he heard that he was ‘envy’ from his parents.” He added, “I still can’t believe that Nike, which sponsors only the world’s best players like Uzuna (Rory) McIlroy, chose me.”
The world Kim Joo-hyung lives in has completely changed over the past six months. While touring the domestic and Asian tours, he achieved good results at the Genesis Scottish Open (3rd place) and The Open (47th place) in July of last year, earning him the status of a temporary special member of the American Professional Golf (PGA) Tour. Participating in this way, he won two PGA victories at the age of 20 years and 3 months by winning the Wyndham Championship (August) and the Shriners Children’s Open (October). He was six months ahead of Woods (20 years and 9 months). At the Presidents Cup held in September of last year, he showed his star quality with an impressive ‘Buddy Ceremony’. Then Nike, who has a high nose, also took notice of him.
A piece of passage that shows Kim Joo-hyung’s star quality. The last 18th hole (par 5) on the third day of the Presidents Cup last September. The US team leader and players surrounded Kim Joo-hyung preparing for the second shot. It was a kind of ‘psychological warfare’ to pressure Kim Joo-hyung. The remaining distance is 239 yards. Kim Joo-hyung took out a 2-iron instead of the utility, which he usually hits when he has this much distance left. It is said that Trevor Immelman (44, South Africa), the head of the international team, looked at Kim Joo-hyung’s caddy with a surprised look. He was scathing, saying, ‘Why do you make unsafe choices in a tie situation?’
Kim Joo-hyung said, “I was so confident ahead of the second shot that I thought I was born for this moment.” Even thinking about it now, the feeling at that time was the best.” At that time, Kim Joo-hyung put the second shot 3m from the side of the hole and finished with a birdie, giving the international team a valuable victory point. Director Immelman, who saw this, said, “It was a scene that made it impossible for me to become a fan of Kim Joo-hyung.” 메이저놀이터
People around him predicted Kim Joo-hyung’s star quality early on. Park Hyeon-gyeong (23) of the Korea Women’s Professional Golf (KLPGA) Tour, who trains at the same academy, said, “(Kim) Joo-hyung is really different inside and outside the golf course.” She is so focused that people say, ‘What’s wrong with him?’” she said. His mentor, coach Lee Si-woo, said, “(Kim) Joo-hyung doesn’t feel intimidated even when he rounds with a good player and absorbs the player’s strengths. I thought he would play on the PGA Tour someday.”
Kim Joo-hyung, who said, “It seems like I am walking on clouds,” is now heading to the Masters, a major PGA tournament. Kim Joo-hyung was invited to the Masters for the first time in April thanks to his two victories last year. He said, “I lived with a DVD of Woods winning the Masters, and it feels like a dream to stand on the same stage with Woods.” At the same time, he emphasized, “My goal is to win one major tournament this year,” and “I will do my best every moment as I have done so far.”
Kim Joo-hyung, who was ranked in the top 5 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions before the New Year’s Open last week, will challenge for his first win in the new year at the PGA Tour Sony Open held at Waialei CC in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA on the 12th (local time). The PGA Tour picked Kim Joo-hyung as the number one candidate to win the tournament.