Earlier this month, the Farmers Insurance Open announced that it was awarding a sponsor's exemption to Michael Kim, reigning NCAA Division I Player of the Year. Now, it appears that event will mark Kim's first start as a professional.
After a standout career at the University of California, the 20-year-old announced Thursday that he will forgo his remaining eligibility in Berkeley and instead play among the professional ranks in 2014.
"I'm really excited. I've been waiting for this for a while now, and I'm excited to take the next step," Kim told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I'm beyond excited to play in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, which is basically my home course."
Kim just completed the final stage of Web.com Q-School as an amateur. He appeared poised to earn significant status for the 2014 season, but closing rounds of 74 and 75 at PGA West dropped him into a tie for 56th, meaning he will only have conditional status on the developmental circuit next year.
"I probably won't get that many starts on the Web.com (Tour), so I'll have to play well when I do," said Kim, who will be represented by Wasserman Media Group. "I just felt like it was time to move on. I feel like I've accomplished everything I can in college, other than a national championship."
Kim's 2012-2013 sophomore season at Cal saw him become the top-ranked amateur and earn a myriad of honors, including the Nicklaus Award as NCAA Division I Player of the Year. He followed up his successful collegiate season by qualifying for the U.S. Open at Merion, where he made the cut and ultimately tied for 17th. Kim was also a member of the victorious U.S. Walker Cup team in September and made three starts for the Golden Bears this fall.