Kim Legit Lefty on the Fence

By Brian HewittMay 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
Adam on the Eve.
Thats the shorthand for what swing coach Adam Schriber had to say about the chances of his star pupil, in the hours leading up to The PLAYERS that begins Thursday at the Stadium Course of TPC Sawgrass.
Schriber coaches Anthony Kim, who raised just about everybodys eyebrows with a five-shot, tour de force victory at the Wachovia Championship last week in North Carolina.
The win was the first on the big tour for the 22-year-old Kim and it vaulted him to No. 16 in the world rankings and No. 5 on the U.S. Ryder Cup point standings.
The old Anthony might have been subject to a post-victory hangover, said Schriber, who spoke with Kim Tuesday morning by phone from Virginia, where he is working this week with another student, LPGA star Candie Kung.
But he told me he liked that feeling walking up the 18th hole too much. He wants it again.
Schriber and Kim analyzed his performance last week and concluded that Kim can improve his 72-hole focus. He knows he needs to stick to his guns, Schriber said. But hes a player who can string good weeks. He can get on rolls.
Last year Kim, playing in his first PLAYERS, shot 78-83 and finished dead last among players who completed at least 36 holes. Schriber believes that was an aberration and points to the fact that Kim grew up right next to PGA West, a Pete Dye design in the Palm Springs area.
He played that course all the time and I dont think its all that different from TPC Sawgrass (also a Pete Dye design), Schriber added. Anthonys got a real calmness about him right now. You can see hes really at peace.
Schriber said he wouldnt have minded if Kim had taken a little time to enjoy the Wachovia win. But, he said, Kim is too focused at the moment.
Said Kim at his Wednesday PLAYERS press conference: What Im looking forward to doing is becoming a better golfer and a better professional out here.
All business for a guy who, one year ago, was all bravado.
The subject of slow play cam up again this week at The PLAYERS. And this time it was Commissioner Tim Finchem shouldering some of the blame.
We make it very difficult because we put a lot of people on the golf course on Thursday and Fridays, Finchem said. Sometimes 156 players. We push the number we play based on daylight. We set up the golf courses as hard as we can set them up. We put the pins three paces from the side of the greens. We try to create excitement on the golf course by having reachable par-5s and drivable par-4s.
All of these things slow play down. They create situations that bottleneck play. So in too many weeks we have players waiting on the tee. And some weeks we struggle to get done by dark; we struggle to meet the TV window.
Most of the year we put ourselves at jeopardy of the vagaries of the weather because the longer it takes to play, the more difficult it is to play in.
Some of it, Finchem conceded, is because some players are slow players but that is only one element of it.
The solution?
Finchem: I think its a combination of identifying things that could be done in communicating more effectively, primarily with players, talking about the professional, but also yourselves (media) and the fans about what the issues are; what the causes are and what steps could be done.
It was certainly a reasonable question when defending champion Phil Mickelson was asked this week: If this (Stadium Course TPC Sawgrass) was the most democratic course that you play in your schedule in that it seemingly excludes no one from contending if youre playing well?
Mickelson, who knows how to light up an interview room when he wants to, clearly didnt want to on this one.
I dont like to get into politics, Mickelson said. Democratic, Republican; it doesnt matter.
Usually when Mickelson gives tongue in cheek answers, he waits for the laughter to die down before addressing the question.
Not this time.
The countrified Boo Weekley, currently No. 8 on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, is letting that game come to him.
Im just going to play golf and if I get elected, I get elected to play, he said of the Ryder Cup. It aint nothing thats really dramatic to me if I dont make it because, I mean, that just gives me another week to go play somewhere else or be at home fishing.
Keep in mind, if Weekley isnt elected--that is to say he isnt among the top eight after the PGA Championship--he could be selected by captain Paul Azinger with one of Azingers four discretionary picks.
Jim Furyk was asked what the effect of the absence of Tiger Woods (knee injury) will have on this weeks event:
If he were here, Id tease him and say he wasnt that much of a factor in the past so whats the difference? Furyk said, referring to the fact that Woods has won just one PLAYERS. Its the only event I can say that.
At this point hed be calling me a few names that you cant print.
His absence affects on a broader scale. Its about how our viewers, how our fans look at the golf tournament because they want to see Tiger in the field.
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