Kim, 21, cruised to a five-shot win last month in Greensboro, marking the highlight of a season that has included 14 top-25 finishes in 32 starts. He also lost a playoff to Aaron Baddeley at the Barbasol Championship, and Kim enters the BMW Championship at No. 18 in the FedEx Cup standings which means he is assured of a spot at the season-ending Tour Championship.
Kim's rookie season was originally thought to be 2013, as he notably became the youngest player ever to earn a PGA Tour card when he advanced through Q-School in 2012 at age 17. But he only made eight starts that year, and according to Tour regulations, a player's rookie season is deemed to occur when he makes 10 or more starts as a member.
The change in classification means that the Rookie of the Year race, thought to be a head-to-head battle between Emiliano Grillo and Smylie Kaufman, now has an additional candidate. All three players won this season, and Grillo, like Kim, is guaranteed a spot at East Lake after his runner-up finish at The Barclays. Kaufman, who played in the final pairing during the final round of the Masters, is No. 33 in FedEx Cup points entering this week.
This also means that for the first time ever, the 30-man Tour Championship field will include multiple rookies. No rookie made it to East Lake in 2014, while every other season since the FedEx Cup's inception in 2007 has included exactly one rookie at the season's final event.