Mark SchlabachESPN senior writerMay 18, 2023, 09:53 pm ETRead 3 minutes

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – On the par-4 sixth hole in the opening round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on Thursday, Tom Kim went looking for his errant tee shot, only to be told he had crossed a creek and was somewhere. High weeds in danger.

Naturally, Kim did what any golfer would do — he started looking for the new Title Pro VIx.

When he came back — without the ball — he was covered in mud up to his waist.

“I was told my ball crossed the water,” Kim told ESPN. “It was in the mud there, and if I could find it [and] I’ve had enough of lying, I was wondering if I could get it out there.

But Kim doesn’t realize he has to go through a mud bath to find it. He took off his shoes and socks and rolled up his pants.

“As soon as I walked in, it was sketchy,” Kim said. “But I mean it’s the main championship. I’m fighting for every stroke I get.”

In the end, Kim ends up fighting more than a scratch in the adventure.

“And then it got dark,” he said. “Once I got my foot in, I was like, ‘There’s no looking back.’ I went full in and got my shirt and everything. There was a point where I just got in. I was calm for a minute. I couldn’t get my foot out.”

Kim, 20, called his caddy, Joe Skovron, for help.

“Well, if I go in and drown, neither of us will get out,” Skovron told him.

Kim had to get out of the mud. When he returned to dry land — again, without the golf ball — he was covered from waist to toe in mud. With TV cameras filming his every move, the South Korean waded back into the stream to wash his hands and feet. He took off his mud shirt and replaced it with a jacket.

“Yeah, it couldn’t be worse,” Kim said. “Because I was wet, I thought I could get in the water and wash myself, and that’s what I did.”

Unfortunately for Kim, he made a bogey on the sixth hole on the 15th. But he should have received a gold star for the effort. He made par on each of the final three holes to post a 3-over 73 and was tied for 63rd when play was suspended due to darkness.

“It could have been a lot better, that’s for sure,” Kim said. “Especially after what happened on that hole, I hung in there. I was able to finish at even par and give myself a few shots.”

After the throne, Kim seemed impressed that his benefits were covered on ESPN and the season spread on social media.

“I hope everyone at home understands that it’s a big championship, and I’m trying to play my best and every shot is important,” Kim said. “I definitely went all in, but it didn’t help me and I didn’t get my ball, and I went through all that. It was a great experience.”

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