Sungjae Im is nearly two years younger than reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris and more than a year younger than wunderkind and two-time major winner Collin Morikawa. It often does not feel this way because Im has been a prominent player on the PGA Tour for several years as evidenced by the fact that he won his second Tour event in his 100th PGA Tour start on Sunday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
We tend to evaluate a player’s age by how long they have been in our lives. Zalatoris, even though he’s significantly older (in sports years) than Im seems younger because we have spent less time with him. Im has played at the highest level — and often — ffor several years now which, like players such as Matthew Wolff (22) and Joaquin Niemann (22), belies his actual age. Justin Ray summed it up well in this tweet
There are a number of different ways to look at this, and the first is the most obvious. Im is still super young and has a ton of growing to do until he becomes fully formed as a PGA Tour contender. The stats would back this up. Im’s strokes gained on approach shots and off the tee have improved season over season during the stretch from 2019-2021. That implies a higher ceiling than what he’s reached.
The other way to view this is that he’s played 100 PGA Tour events, which is a lot, and has won two of them, which is a decent amount for a golfer in 2021. While he may have up-and-down years over the next decade, the player we have seen over his first 100 tournaments in the best league in the world is more or less the player he’s going to be for most of his career. Age gets tossed around as barometer for what could be when players are in their early 20s in all of sports, but most of the time that’s simply because we don’t have a big sample size of reality. It’s easy to dream on the future when nothing has taken place in the present, which is not true in Im’s…
Source : cbssports