He then returned to the Web.com Tour until he locked up his PGA Tour card for the 2015-16 season by finishing 23rd on the 2015 Web.com Tour priority list.
That's when a clerical oversight - discovered by Brian Gay - saved him.
Garcia, the 2008 Players champion, had two doubles and a triple and ballooned 11 shots higher than his third-round 67 with a 78 to finished tied for 30th.
The Englishman took it from there.
Kim then parred the treacherous back nine - including the famous par-three 17th hole featuring an island green - to clinch a three-shot victory over Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen.
"As good as he [Kim] played yesterday, he's obviously gone out there today and played even better", Poulter said.
"I still can't believe that I'm the champion and I'm the youngest champion for this championship and I'm very honored to be the champion for this fantastic fifth Major event and I'm looking forward to working hard from now on", he told the media following the victory.
"From that moment, I was dreaming that I really want to be in this tournament", Kim said through a translator.
"But I think I've still got some work to do. The putter is not quite doing what I would like".
Kim had a two-shot lead heading into the back nine Sunday and was never out of the solo lead the rest of the way.
Boutier birdied the par-5 18th in the playoff, and Moreno made a bogey. I could just really be myself.
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Day, who romped to a four-shot victory in 2016, finished at seven over for the tournament.
Even so, Poulter's outlook sure is different.
"It's been a roller coaster ride", said the five-times European Ryder Cup member, who has not won since 2012. "For that all to turn around the way and for me to be sitting here in a slightly different situation, it's pleasing".
Kim's first PGA Tour victory came at last season's Wyndham Championship in his 38th PGA Tour start.
"After consulting with my team last night and this morning, I have chose to withdraw from this week's AT&T Byron Nelson".
You never know who you will sit next to on a flight to Atlanta.
Poulter reduced the deficit to one to get back in to contention, but as Kim scrambled for par on the first two holes of the back nine, the 41-year-old gave away his chance at glory with a dropped shot on the 12th and several missed opportunitiies.
He wound up with a 70 and tied for fourth.
South Korean golfer Kim Si-woo became the youngest champion at the Players Championship, unofficially considered the fifth "major" of the season, after holding off England's Ian Poulter at TPC Sawgrass here.
The International team is based on the world ranking, and Kim moved up to No. 7. The final top 10 will earn LPGA Tour cards.
Because he can fill those five years with a litany of starts in golf's biggest tournaments. This year, they will be September 28 to October 1 at Liberty National in New Jersey.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson carded a 68 in the final round, just his third round in the 60s in 30 career rounds at TPC Sawgrass.