Golf Channel cameras and mics caught a pretty interesting exchange between the pair as Kim was getting ready to play his second shot on the par-5 9th during the third round of the Shriners Children’s Open.
Kim was debating between a 2-iron and a 3-iron from the right rough. From 266 to a front-left pin, the 20-year-old was worried about hitting his approach too far and leaving a more difficult third shot. Skovron was not.
“I would rather [hit the 2], because the 3-iron, if it comes out soft and right, it brings the short-right bunker into play,” Skovron said to Kim. “I’m not worried about this thing getting us into any trouble long.”
Skovron was certain 2-iron was the play. So certain, he offered to take responsibility for Kim’s shot.
“If it does [get into trouble], I’ll take the blame,” Skovron said.
Kim still wasn’t convinced. He said he was confident he could hit the 3-iron and still wind up safe.
The veteran looper handed Kim the 3-iron.
“If you don’t feel like you can get [the 2] full, let’s hit the 3 and go ahead and hit it hard. It’s fine,” Skovron said.
After a couple of practice swings, Kim asked for the 2-iron once again.
“I love the 2, I don’t think you have to worry about anything. You can hit the 2, OK?” Skovron said. “That’s the one I’ve liked the whole time.”
Kim pulled the trigger and left his ball just inside 30 yards from the pin, nowhere near either of the greenside bunkers.
“Good call, Joe. Great call,” Kim said.
Kim would get the pitch up-and-down for birdie on the hole, then play his inward nine in six under. He would go on to post a 62 and tie Patrick Cantlay for the 54-hole lead in Vegas at 19 under.
It’s been a strong start for the new tandem, who jumped out to quick success even before this week’s Shriners. In just a short time, Skovron looks like he’s earned a fast education into the nuances of Kim’s game, and both sides of the duo are better for it.
Skovron, the longtime caddie for Rickie Fowler, linked up with Kim at the Presidents Cup, where the latter burst on to the international stage with the moment of the tournament, unleashing a huge fist pump and celebration after the winning putt of his fourth match Saturday evening.
Ironically, Skovron split with Fowler, who he had worked with for more than 12 years, after the Wyndham Championship in August, the same event where Kim fired a final-round 61 to claim his first PGA Tour title.
Player-caddie relationships can often begin and end on a whim with little notice. But if there’s any doubt as to whether Skrovron and Kim are in it for the long haul, they seem to be quickly erasing it.