The 2019-2020 season U.S. Professional Golf (PGA) tour ended with the Tour Championship on the 8th (Tue).
Among Korean players, 22-year-old Lim Seong-jae was the only player to advance to the Tour Championship, the final game of the FedEx Cup playoffs, and finished in 11th place alone.
Lim Sung-jae debuted on the 2018-2019 PGA Tour and stood out from the first season, winning the Rookie Award for the first time in Asia.
I spoke with Lim Seong-jae, who finished the season, over the phone.
"If I score myself, I think I can give more than 90 points enough."
“When I started the second season, I set two goals, one for the first victory on the PGA Tour, and the other for the Tour Championship. I want to give you a good score once I've achieved both.”
Lim Sung-jae achieved his first win on the PGA Tour at the Honda Classic in March, and made it in the top 10 seven times, with one runner-up and two thirds.
In the aftermath of Corona 19, the number of competitions (26 competitions) was much less than the debut season (35 competitions), but the prize money increased by nearly 1.5 million dollars.
In addition to the prize money of the tournament, Lim Seong-jae also took a heavy bonus.
Before the playoffs began, he ended the regular season in fifth place in the FedEx Cup, earning a $1 million'Wyndham Rewards Bonus' and a $750,000 bonus going back to the final 11th place in the FedEx Cup.
As official prizes and bonuses for the 2019-2020 season, we have earned $6.8 million and KRW 7.2 billion in our money in one year.
"When we started the 2019-2020 season last fall, we performed well in the early stages. Thanks to this, we were able to play comfortably earlier this year, and the good mood continued. Then we got our first championship."
It is not without regret.
After winning the Honda Classic in March, Lim Seong-jae went up to the top of the FedEx Cup rankings with an unstoppable momentum, immediately rising to third place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.However, the good trend stopped as the tour was suspended for three months due to the Corona 19 incident.
After the tour resumed, I competed in 12 competitions, and there were two top tens and four cuts.
"It was unfortunate. After the tour resumed, my grades didn't come out as I thought, and I was in a lot of hurry without knowing. There was a pressure to do something better after winning. But, little by little as I went through the last playoffs, I got a little bit of my mind. It seemed comfortable, and the tour championship ended well."
In the second round of the Tour Championship, Lim Sung-jae took second place alone with leader Dustin Johnson in the first stroke and played a group match with Johnson in the third round.
On this day, Johnson drove a 6-under par, while Lim Seong-jae was only a 2-over par, which resulted in a regrettable result of losing the championship.
“This was the first time I played in the same group with Johnson. Oh, I really think that I play golf very easily. There aren't many mistakes, and I hit it well and putt straight away. It's a pity that my game didn't work out well. But still, I think I learned a lot while playing with the world's number one."
During the three months when the PGA tour was suspended due to Corona 19, Lim Seong-jae did not return to Korea and prepared to resume the tour by staying in Tampa, Florida, USA.
How did Im Seong-jae stay during the'forced break'?
"After the Corona tour was stopped, it was a very dangerous situation at that time, so I couldn't go anywhere and just went back and forth between the house and the golf course. Still, the golf course was open so I could practice every day. I sometimes fished on the weekends. I go to the places where there is no one as possible
"While I'm at home, I watch a lot of movies and dramas during my break. What's the latest drama I watched?
Im Sung-jae, who has been on a strong march until the tour championship, is preparing for the US Open of the major tournament next week, not participating in this week's Safeway Open, the opening game of the 2020-2021 season.
At this year's US Open, 4 Korean ordinals, including Lim Seong-jae, Ahn Byeong-hoon, Kang Seong-hoon, and Kim Si-woo, will participate.
"I haven't been very good at major competitions. I want to get comfortable and start with the preliminary rounds, rather than being greedy this time. After that, I'll make sure to get good grades in the 3rd and 4th rounds."
"Now, it will be the 3rd year of the PGA Tour. I always want to consistently perform as I did in the 1st and 2nd years, and in order to do that, I will continue to make up for my shortcomings. The US Open next week due to Corona 19, the schedule is delayed. And until the November Masters, there will be six major tournaments in the next season, and the goal is to show good appearance in the major tournaments and to advance to the final playoffs in the next season. I'll try my best."
(Photo = Yonhap News, Getty Image Korea)