Anthony Kim speaks: Golf only 'a fond memory' now

By Doug FergusonSeptember 30, 2015, 12:20 pm

Anthony Kim was tired of whispers on the PGA Tour about what was wrong with him and his game, so he found a patch of grass behind a row of trees down from the practice range at Quail Hollow and hit balls for two hours.

This was where he won his first PGA Tour event in 2008, when he was fearless, brash and backed it all up with an exciting brand of golf. He ended that year by demolishing Sergio Garcia in the leadoff singles match at the Ryder Cup, the last time the Americans won.

Kim referred to Quail Hollow as the start of his career. ''Hopefully, I can start a new one here,'' he said. Two days later, he shot 74 and walked straight to his car, dumped his clubs in the trunk and drove away.

That was 2012, and he hasn't been back.

''Golf is a fond memory of mine,'' Kim said Tuesday, his first interview in three years. ''I've been watching more and more. I miss the competition a little bit. Watching these young guys like Jordan Spieth is bringing me back to watch.''

Is it enough to bring him back to play?

Not yet. Maybe not ever.

''Here's what I'm telling you today,'' he said. ''I'm going to step away from the game for a little while and get my body pieced together. Instead of going from an Achilles injury to try to go 180 mph and not fixing the problem ... I've got so much ground to make up from injuries - rotator cuff, labrum, spinal fusion, hand injury. I've had six or seven surgeries in the last three-and-a-half years.''

Asked if it was possible that he played his last round on the PGA Tour at age 26, Kim paused, chuckled and said, ''Anything is possible. Isn't that what the slogan says?''

Paul Azinger, the Ryder Cup captain at Valhalla where Kim emerged as a star, was among those who could not believe that someone with so much talent could be done at such a young age.

''His energy and enthusiasm, his killer instinct, it all converged into him becoming our team leader,'' Azinger said.

Kim's immediate future is a business venture with Dallas-based Quality Metrics Partners that was started with longtime friend and caddie Brodie Flanders and two others, including Mike Knall, a former punter for the Oklahoma Sooners. It provides ancillary service management in the health care industry. Kim said he made a substantial investment, which he made back within months.

His joy comes from a stronger relationship with his mother. Kim spent three weeks with her in South Korea, sees her at least once a month and was headed to his native Los Angeles to sign the papers on a house he just bought for her in Beverly Hills.

He said he has not played a full round of golf in nearly 18 months. Physical therapy occupies most of his time.

Kim didn't entirely disappear, though sightings have been rare and have led to rumors, including one that he was sleeping on the streets of Las Vegas because he was out of money.

He earned just over $12 million in five full seasons on the PGA Tour and says he saved up more money than people realize. The stories and photos on social media over the years painted a wild side to Kim. He doesn't deny he lived different than most golfers, nor will be apologize.

''If you don't like the way I live, change the channel. You're the one who tuned in here,'' Kim said. ''A lot of the golf public may not appreciate the way I live, which is by my own rules. But I give everyone respect. I'm not rude to anyone. And I treat everyone the same.''

He said he is getting monthly payments from an insurance policy he took out five years ago in case he was injured. But he denied speculation in a magazine story last fall that the policy was a factor that is keeping him from returning to the PGA Tour.

''I paid well into the mid-six figures for the policy,'' he said. ''They wouldn't have paid me every month had I not been to the doctors, showing them all my X-rays, doing all the treatment, the acupuncture, twice a day for physical therapy.''

He also explained his departure from Quail Hollow that day. Kim said he ignored his summons for drug testing when he walked to the parking lot, though he eventually was tested.

''I was mad about how I played. I injured myself again. I ended up coming back and taking the test,'' he said. ''I've never tested positive for anything since I've been on the PGA Tour whenever the drug testing started. Never. And they tested me more than anyone.

''These rumors tainted my reputation,'' he said, ''and I didn't have a great one to begin with.''

Kim had no idea he would be gone this long. He played golf with Phil Mickelson at the Madison Club in the California desert. He rented a house in San Diego to prepare for the 2013 season. He said he was up at 5 a.m. every day to train when his Achilles tendon popped. Once he recovered from the leg, he had a herniated disc. And the injuries piled up.

Golf moved on without him. He still has a major medical exemption he can use if he ever returns. Kim would have to earn $613,500 in 16 events to keep his card.

But even Kim can't say that he will return.

He described his health as a ''6'' on a scale of 1 to 10 and said he was coping with thoracic outlet syndrome. He also said he was in the process of moving, hiring a trainer and getting back to full health with hopes of giving golf one last chance.

''What Spieth and (Jason) Day did this year was ridiculous,'' he said. ''I'm not going to compete with those boys unless I'm healthy. I'm not playing with 11 clubs. My goal right now for the next year is to get healthy. At this point, I'm happy where I'm at where I'm headed.''

Kim was given a chance to provide his own answer to a question that has been raised plenty over the last two years.

Whatever happened to Anthony Kim?

''Ask me in two years,'' he said.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."