07 December 2023

SportsAid's One-to-Watch Award shortlist: Kris Kim

Worcester Park's Kris Kim practically grew up on the golf course and is now one of Britain's best up-and-coming prospects. The 16-year-old has an impressive pedigree in the sport, with his mother Ji-Hyun Suh playing on the LPGA Tour as one of the leading female golf pioneers during the 1990s. From spending his childhood on the fairways to clinching his maiden Junior Ryder Cup victory in 2023, Kris is now proving the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Kris Kim

The golfer’s memorable season has resulted in being shortlisted in the top 10 for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award. The annual Award, launched in 2006, recognises Britain’s brightest young sporting prospects and has previously been won by Olympic champions Tom Daley and Alex Yee and Paralympic gold medallist Hollie Arnold.

The top 10 athletes have been selected from around 1,000 rising stars, supported by SportsAid, across more than 60 different sports in 2023.

"I'm really proud to be nominated for such a big award," said Kris. 

"It just shows that my hard work has been paying off.

"I started golf when I was around four or five and then actually properly played when I was eight.

"I remember going to some European Tour events with my mum and having a bunch of PGA pros as your 'aunties' isn't too bad, I guess."

Kris clinched his first win of 2023 by six shots at the Fairhaven Trophy and the Cuddington Golf Club member went from strength to strength.

At the European Boys Team Championships, he clinched individual victory in a new course record of 65 and helped his team to a bronze medal.

The Junior Ryder Cup then took place at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, with Team Europe roaring to a record 11-point margin of victory over the United States.

Kris was a pivotal part of the side who won 20.5 to 9.5 in Italy, extending their lead on the final day by defeating Miles Russell 5&4.

"It was an unreal week," he said.

"We played really well, and I think it helped that we play golf with each other quite a lot.

"We're used to each other and how we play. Our relationships are great because we've known each other since we were about 12 or 13.

"Some of the boys had played the course already too, so we were able to use their knowledge a bit.

"I managed to get 2.5 points out of 3, which was ideal, and we ended up winning by a record margin.

"The course was amazing as well. Marco Simone was perfect in every way because it was so well manicured, and the conditions were perfect.”

Away from the course, Kim is now studying for his GCSEs and while he wants to join the professional ranks at the end of his exams, he has not yet ruled out the possibility of going to college to continue his education.

For now, Kris is simply soaking up every experience he can get as he looks to fulfil his ultimate ambition.

"My schedule restarts in December, when I'm playing in Miami for the South Beach international," said Kris, who received his SportsAid support from the Backing the Best programme this year. 

"Then I have the Portuguese International in January and the Spanish in February, so hopefully I will get some good results, and some wins out there.

"To be able to play golf as a job would be my dream.

"I want to be on the PGA Tour. Hopefully if I work as hard as I have been doing, things will go right, and I will get there."

SportsAid’s annual One-to-Watch Award is backed by Royal Bank of Canada – a long-standing supporter of the charity celebrating 10 years of partnership in 2023. The winner of this year’s Award will be revealed in December with each of the top 10 receiving cash boosts and special in-person visits at their training environments to celebrate their achievements.  

Photo Credit – with thanks to European Golf Association