Michael Kim finished as the low amateur at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, where he tied for 17th as a 19-year-old. The expectation, fittingly, was that Kim would turn into a prominent professional golfer. Some five years later and a day after turning 25, golf fans are seeing that talent the former University of California-Berkeley golfer put on display as Kim dismantled TPC Deere Run to win the John Deere Classic by eight strokes over Bronson Burgoon, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Francesco Molinari.
Perhaps the most stunning stat in his 27-under-par performance is that Kim actually made three bogeys. But in also making 30 birdies, Kim ranked first in strokes gained/putting (a crazy-good 3.379, meaning he picked up more than 13 strokes on the field on the greens for the week); first in strokes gained overall; T-2 in driving accuracy; third in greens in regulation and T-1 in scrambling.
Off the tee, Kim was working with Titleist’s new TS2 driver, a club first introduced to the company’s tour staff at the U.S. Open. Kim put it into play at the Quicken Loans National. The win is the first for Titleist's new driver on any professional tour.
Kim also employs a split set of irons with the hollow-body 716 T-MB serving as his 4-iron, rounding out his set with 718 AP2 irons. The shafts in his irons are True Temper’s XP 115, a shaft designed for a mid-ball flight for stronger swingers who want something slightly lighter than the standard weight used in steel shafts.
As with any player, the golf ball plays a major role but is often overlooked. However Kim’s use of Titleist’s Pro V1x helped the company reached a milestone at the John Deere. Titleist, citing the Darrell Survey, said that 81 percent of the John Deere field (126 of 156 players) used a Titleist golf ball, marking the first time the company reached over 80 percent, given records dating back to 1996. The next closest was the 1996 U.S. Open (79.5 percent).
What Michael Kim had in the bag at the John Deere Classic
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist TS2 (Aldila Rogue Black 60X), 10.5 degrees
3-wood: Titleist 917F2, 16.5 degrees
Hybrid: Titleist 816H1, 21 degrees
Irons (4): Titleist 716 T-MB; (5-PW): Titleist 718 AP2
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist GSS 350