‘Eldest brother’ Lee Gyeong-hoon (32), ‘new groom’ Lim Seong-jae (25), and ‘terrible youngest’ Kim Joo-hyung (21), who left a strong impression on the PGA Tour last year and the Presidents Cup golf competition, were held in Maui, Hawaii, USA on the 6th. They will participate side by side in the Sentry Tournament of Champions (total prize money of 15 million dollars), the first tournament of the new year, which kicks off at the Kapalua Plantation Course (par 73).
This tournament is a ‘King of Kings’ competition that gives qualification only to 30 people who survived last year’s PGA Tour winner and last season’s playoff final, the Tour Championship. A total of 39 players, excluding world No. 1 Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) and No. 3 메이저사이트 Cameron Smith (Australia), will compete for four days without missing a cut. 17 players within the top 20 in the world, including Justin Thomas (USA), Jon Rahm (Spain), and Scotty Scheffler (USA), will participate. McIlroy will kick off his season with the DP World Tour Dubai Desert Classic in late January. Smith is the defending champion, but was disqualified because he is affiliated with LIV Golf.
Lee Gyeong-hoon, who became the first Korean player to win two consecutive PGA Tour tournaments at AT&T Byron Nelson last year, said, “I will improve the accuracy of my iron shots and enter the top 10 from the first tournament.” Although he did not win last year, Im Seong-jae, who finished second at the Tour Championship, is spending his honeymoon in Hawaii after getting married on the 17th of last month. Lim Seong-jae, who had been tied for 5th and 8th in the previous two tournaments, made up his mind by saying, “I want to build wonderful memories with his wife.” Kim Joo-hyung, who won two games last year at the age of 20, is attracting attention as a global star by signing a sponsorship contract with Nike. “I’m still a kid compared to the real stars,” he said. “My goal is to get stronger mentally and physically every day.”
This tournament is one of the 17 special tournaments designated by the PGA Tour starting this year, and the prize money has nearly doubled.
The total prize money increased from 8.2 million dollars last year to 15 million dollars (approximately 19.1 billion won), and the winning prize increased from 1.476 million dollars to 2.7 million dollars (approximately 3.4 billion won). Even if you finish last, you will be given 200,000 dollars (about 250 million won). It is one of the measures to prevent excellent players from leaving LIV Golf, which is led by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund.