April 3, 2011
University of Michigan senior men's golfer Lion Kim will play in the 2011 Masters, with tournament week running Monday through Sunday, April 4-10, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. He earned an invitation by winning the 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
Another Priceless Practice Round
Lion Kim met up with K.J. Choi for a practice round Sunday morning.
During his nine holes with Choi, Kim said the majority of their conversations were about course strategy and what to expect during the tournament, though they also spoke openly about professional golf and life on the tour.
"He told me the PGA Tour is not going anywhere, so I need to finish my degree," said Kim. "He said nothing is given to you, I need to earn and really put in the work.
"What I found interesting was he said the tour can get lonely at times, but if this is truly something I want to do to make sure I put the work in and enjoy it."
Walking down the second fairway during his practice round with K.J. Choi, Kim noticed Tiger Woods teeing off on the ninth hole. After missing a chance to see him yesterday, Tiger nodded and waved to the pair.
"K.J. and Tiger know each other very well, so I am sure he was waving to him," Kim said with a chuckle. "Still it was surreal feeling to have him acknowledge me."
'How About We Play with You?'
After introducing himself to Bubba Watson at the players' concession area, Kim got a surprise when Watson told him they would be paired together for the Par 3 contest, along with Aaron Baddeley.
"It was actually kind of funny," said Kim. "After talking to Bubba for a bit, he stopped me and said, 'Oh yeah, me and Aaron signed up to play with you in the Par 3 contest.' I just kind of chuckled because he said it so matter-of-factly.
"Bubba is very popular and creative with the way he plays his game, so I imagine we will have a good crowd with us."
Kim's Par 3 group is scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m.
Readying for the Crowds
One of the most significant elements of the Masters Kim has to prep himself for is the crowd arriving to watch the next three days of practice rounds.
"It will be exciting and I am sure I will feel the nerves and jitters, but I decided to play 18 holes Monday for a couple of reasons," said Kim. "First, the more I play the course the more comfortable I feel. Second, I wanted a chance to play in front of the crowds and really get used to that feeling."
A Public Links Connection
During Monday's practice day, Kim talked with Brandt Snedeker, the 2007 PGA Rookie of the Year. In 2003, Snedeker also won the U.S. Amateur Public Link Championship before turning professional. Invited to the 2004 Masters, Snedeker made the cut and finished tied for 41st (73-75-75-77/300).
Monday's Schedule Set
Lion Kim confirmed he will play an 18-hole practice round with good friend Zach Johnson Monday morning.
Quick Meeting of a Legend
Kim met and spent a few minutes with golf legend Tom Watson on the driving range prior to his practice round with K.J. Choi.