Sungjae Im’s “no weeks off” mentality has become the stuff of legend in his short but extremely successful career on the PGA Tour. If there were ever a time to take a week off, though, it would have been this past week, the one sandwiched in between the elevated Wells Fargo Championship and the second major of the year, the PGA Championship.
But, alas, no weeks off for Sungjae. Now, you may be wondering, was he in the AT&T Byron Nelson field? Did he miss the cut? Did he finish in a distant and forgettable T-48th position? I don’t remember seeing him on the broadcast at all ??
Welp, that’s because Sungjae wasn’t at TPC Craig Ranch, he was halfway across the globe in South Korea, his home country. And he wasn’t just there because he was feeling homesick, Im was there to win a damn golf tournament. He did just that, capturing the KPGA’s Woori Financial Group Championship by one stroke with an absolutely filthy up-and-down from a bunker on the 18th hole at Ferrum Club:
Nasty work. Of course, Im wasn’t exactly facing stiff competition. The runner-up, Junseok Lee, was ranked outside the top 400 of the Official World Golf Ranking before this event. Only one player inside the top 10 entered the week inside the top 300. But still, to just hop on a 15-hour flight after a grueling week like Quail Hollow, right before one of the most grueling weeks of the year in the PGA at Oak Hill, and win against anyone at any course is a damn impressive feat. Not to mention the fact that as the highest-ranked Asian player in the world, playing in his home country, he was expected to show up and show out. That he did.
We should note that Im did sneak in a nice little two-week vacation between Harbour Town and Quail Hollow, so he was obviously feeling fresh enough to take on this stretch of golf. As the SungjaeTracker account pointed out on Twitter, too, this tournament was an important one for Im to play. He missed last year’s edition after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of his tee time, which also caused him to miss the PGA at Southern Hills due to travel restrictions. Im was able to exact a little revenge with this win and no one would be surprised to see him do the same at Oak Hill, even after another lengthy flight back to the U.S. That’s the no-weeks-off lifestyle after all.