To say it’s hard to become a rookie on the LPGA Tour for the 2021 season is an understatement. But A Lim Kim, the surprise U.S. Women’s Open winner earlier this month, has done it. A week after her victory at Champions Golf Club in Houston, the 25-year-old from South Korea accepted LPGA Tour membership starting in 2021, the LPGA Tour announced.
Due to the shortened 2020 season, and being wary of the impact COVID-19 would have on players’ willingness to travel, LPGA officials decided to carry over the status for all tour members into 2021. While that’s good for players already on the LPGA Tour, it makes it difficult for golfers on other tours who were hoping to jump to the LPGA in 2021. The top five money-earners on the Symetra Tour received limited status on the LPGA in 2021, and if a nonmember won a major, she would have the option to accept full LPGA status.
Incredibly, the latter instance had happened twice in 2020. Sophia Popov, a member of the Symetra Tour, won the AIG Women’s British Open in August and accepted LPGA Tour membership. Then, Kim, who’s been a member of the LPGA Tour of Korea (KLPGA) since 2016 did the same in Houston.
Though only playing in her first major, Kim showed the composure and will of a veteran at Champions Golf Club, coming from five shots behind and birdieing the last three holes to win by one over World No. 1 Jin Young Ko and Amy Olson. After a performance like that, it’s safe to say she’s ready for the LPGA.