Doug Ghim was dropped.
The former No. 1 amateur in the globe experienced just skipped the minimize at the 2020 Sony Open up in Hawaii, his fourth weekend off in his 1st five PGA TOUR starts. Swing adjustments instructed by an teacher he politely refuses to title hadn’t solidified, and he now questioned if they ever would.
Rapid forward to now and Ghim is a single of the most enhanced players on TOUR. He contended at THE Players Championship ahead of fading on the weekend to a T29 has made 13 of 17 cuts, such as 7 leading-25s and with spouse Justin Suh just completed T11 at the Zurich Common of New Orleans.
Ghim is 70th in this season’s FedExCup, an enhancement of additional than 100 spots above final calendar year. He completed 184th in 2020 and would have lost his TOUR card ended up it not for the pandemic, and the TOUR freezing everyone’s status for 2020-21.
“I’ve constantly been a sluggish starter,” states Ghim.
Not positive he belonged, he felt that way in junior golf, and school.
“And then you turn pro,” he continues, “and it’s like, which is Dustin Johnson, or Rory, or Tiger, or whoever. Honestly, when I get out right here, at times I really feel like I’m 5 yrs previous.”
Handful of fantastic tales came out of 2020, but without that horrible year we would not have just one of the greatest tales of 2021. Ghim’s fantasy camp perma-smile implies even he can not really feel it.
His moms and dads immigrated from South Korea, and the family experienced modest suggests. His father Jeff, an architect who also taught golf, set up a web in their yard in Arlington Heights, Illinois, a cube-like contraption with steel pipes. His mom Susan, a flight attendant, was absent a reasonable amount of money, but his older sister, Deborah, aided search immediately after him.
Doug graduated to a junior membership at The Arboretum Club, a nearby general public system where by father and son fished golf balls out of the ponds. They practiced regularly, and Ghim, no taller than a pull cart when he began, acquired improved. He played area junior tournaments and then American Junior Golf Association activities, building use of that organization’s ACE Grant in purchase to aid defray the prices. (A lead to for which Ghim continues to be a passionate advocate.)
It was for the duration of Ghim’s sophomore 12 months of substantial college, on a sunny day in September, when he came household from university to come across a huge box from Titleist had appear in the mail.
“I remember opening the box, and my dad looking at me, and it was a fairly emotional second,” Ghim says. “It was type of 1 of those people items like appear how much we’ve appear.”
Having long gone from regional gatherings to the AJGA’s invitational tournaments, Ghim experienced climbed significant sufficient in the rankings to qualify for free gloves and hats from Titleist. Also, golfing balls. Heaps of them.
“These items are not low-cost, and I’m getting 12 dozen at a time, for no cost,” he states, smiling at the memory. “They were manufacturer new, and I could place my very own markings on them in its place of getting nail polish remover and eradicating the markings from other people’s golfing balls. It was great.”
He decamped for the University of Texas, in which he was an All-American and proven himself as one of golf’s top amateurs. At the 2017 Palmer Cup and Walker Cup, he went a merged 3- with companion Maverick McNealy in the Foursomes periods.
“He was just often was in place and produced my everyday living definitely uncomplicated,” claims McNealy, who briefly lived with Ghim in Las Vegas. “That’s a correct testomony to a excellent player, if he’s an uncomplicated particular person to participate in with in alternate shot. He produced so lots of clutch putts He has a knack for that.”
The ’17 Walker Cup crew was loaded with ample stars – Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris, Cameron Champ, Scottie Scheffler, Doc Redman and McNealy – to give everyone an inferiority elaborate. Even now, Ghim went 4– as the Us residents cruised. He turned professional and performed nicely sufficient on the Korn Ferry Tour to earn his TOUR card for 2019.