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Tom Kim picks Tiger Woods’ brain, nearly picks off fans with errant skip

AUGUSTA, Ga. – For what Tom Kim lacks in experience around Augusta National, the 20-year-old is making up for it in his preparation for his Masters debut.

Kim saw the second nine twice Monday, playing Nos. 10-18 alongside Tiger Woods, Fred Couples and Rory McIlroy before meeting defending champion Scottie Scheffler and Tony Finau back on the 10th tee and walking nine more holes.

“Obviously some of the guys have been here a lot more than I have,” Kim said Tuesday, “but I have to adjust and adapt really quickly.”

Full-field tee times from the 87th Masters Tournament

The awe factor, as far as the venerable property is concerned, has worn off for Kim, whose first look came a few weeks ago. But when he got the text from Couples telling him he’d be playing with Woods and McIlroy? “It was a dream come true for me, really,” Kim said.

Kim was still shocked by plenty Monday. The sheer number of patrons. The standing ovations. The clapping for birdies.

“That really shook me a little bit, just realizing of how historic this place is,” Kim added.

For nearly three hours, Kim picked the brains of Woods and Co. Most of the time, though, he didn’t even have to ask questions. The variety of Woods’ shots around the greens and the positions he put himself in especially stood out.

Kim’s caddie, Joe Skovron, will also prove key this week, helping Kim choose the right lines and shot shapes, plus injecting confidence into his Masters rookie.

So far, Kim has experience only one newbie moment. After hitting his tee shot at the par-3 16th, Kim had forgotten about the traditional skip shot until he saw Woods selecting a club. When Woods suggested the four of them all hit at the same time, Kim had not decided – and frankly, didn’t know – what to do.

“I didn’t really realize how low and steep you had to hit it, and I just took a normal swing and just tried to hit it a little low and just airmailed the green,” Kim said, clearly still a little embarrassed a day later. “It didn’t even come out low enough. I hit it pin-high, and I’m just glad I didn’t hit anyone. Hopefully in the next attempt I’ll be able to hit the water and at least skip it.”