Kim looking to surpass early PGA Tour success

By Doug FergusonFebruary 3, 2010, 12:40 am
Anthony Kim won twice, starred in the Ryder Cup and climbed to No. 6 in the world ranking. That was two years ago, and it would seem the 24-year-old American would strive to get back to that level.

But as he makes his PGA Tour debut this week in Los Angeles, Kim is aiming higher.

“After the year I had two years ago, even though people said it was a breakout year, I don’t feel like I did anything super special,” Kim said on Tuesday. “I would like to do something super special this year.”

anthony kim
Anthony Kim makes his 2010 PGA Tour debut this week at the Northern Trust Open. (Getty Images)

And what does he have in mind?

“Win golf tournaments,” he said. “Nobody cares if you finish in the top 10.”

Even before Tiger Woods took his indefinite break, Kim thought he’d get plenty of attention in what could be a pivotal year to determine whether he makes the most of his talent or makes excuses.

For a guy like Kim, it’s a backhanded compliment when the PGA Tour refers to his 2009 season in the media guide this way: “Despite failing to reach the career-best numbers he posted in 2008, (he) still managed to finish No. 35 in the FedEx Cup standings.”

Kim said his only entourage this year will be his personal assistant, caddie and occasionally his swing coach, another change from having a posse of friends with him at most tournaments.

He already has managed to be in the news this year. Kim became the scapegoat for the Bob Hope Classic’s weak field when he was among nine PGA Tour players who took releases to play in Abu Dhabi. All nine were European Tour members, six of them were Europeans. Kim took heat as the only American, not to mention a kid who went to high school not far from the tournament.

Kim offered no apologies, saying that he will be playing more PGA Tour events than the 22 he played last year.

“We’re trying to grow the game everywhere. It’s not just about the PGA Tour,” he said. “If golf grows on the European Tour, in Asia, that only helps the PGA Tour. That’s where I wanted to start my season.”

Scott McCarron, who seems to be in the news a lot these days, was among those who criticized Kim for skipping the Hope. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but Kim ran into McCarron on Sunday in the Palm Springs, California area.

He said McCarron tried to explain what he meant in his comments, although Kim didn’t seem terribly interested.

“I saw what Scott said. He’s on the player board (Players Advisory Council), and his opinion got out in the media more than it usually would, or would at all,” Kim said. “I saw him a couple of days ago, briefly. He mentioned something about it. But he really didn’t bring it up to me, so there was really nothing for me to say to him.”

Going into a pivotal year, Kim is mainly interested in delivering a message through his scores.


VOTAW DIVORCED: Less than four years after Ty Votaw married Sophie Gustafson of Sweden, whom he began dating while still commissioner of the LPGA Tour, the couple has divorced.

According to records in St. Johns County, Florida, the marriage was dissolved on Jan. 25, and the judge ordered the case sealed a day later. Votaw is the PGA Tour’s chief spokesman, who also spearheaded the successful bid to get golf back in the Olympics. Gustafson has 23 victories worldwide and has played on the last seven Solheim Cup teams.

Votaw took on some controversy and even a LPGA board review of the relationship (it saw no conflict) when he began dating Gustafson in 2002 after his first marriage ended in divorce. He retired as LPGA commissioner in 2005, and they married in June 2006.

Contacted by e-mail, Votaw declined to comment.


STICKING WITH WHAT WORKS: Steve Stricker was a rising American star in 1996 when he won twice and finished No. 4 on the PGA Tour money list. Endorsement offers followed, Stricker changed clubs and it was a contributing factor to his plunge into obscurity.

Even in the midst of a great revival, Stricker is mindful not to repeat history.

He has stuck with Titleist while climbing to No. 3 in the world ranking and becoming a staple on Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams. And he is hesitant to fix what’s not broken.

Stricker is still using the 755 irons, which he first began using four years ago. Titleist has come out with two new versions from that model of irons, yet Stricker isn’t about to change. He even has duct tape on one club where a plastic label has come off.

“I have a hard time coming off the years I had and changing something,” Stricker said.

Not that he’s unwilling to try. Stricker had the new Titleist AP2 irons in his bag at the Chevron World Challenge in December and shot a 65 in the final round at Sherwood to finish 10th. When he arrived in Hawaii, his old clubs were back in play.

“I’m kind of snakebit from 13 years ago,” Stricker said. “I’m very cautious to change.”


DALY DOINGS: John Daly already has received two sponsor exemptions on the PGA Tour this year. Pebble Beach is not one of them.

The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am has one of the more peculiar criteria. It takes winners of the tournament, the four majors and The Players Championship dating to 2005 – and all such winners before 2000.

Daly qualifies because of his majors (1991 and 1995), while Todd Hamilton (2004 British Open) does not. Matt Gogel (now retired) would not be eligible for winning Pebble in 2002, while Brett Ogle would be eligible for winning in 1993.

Daly, meanwhile, said on Twitter that his partner next week would be Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.


DIVOTS: Ben Crane has three PGA Tour trophies, two of them collector’s items – the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee and AT&T Classic outside Atlanta no longer exist. … The Royal Bank of Canada is expanding its golf sponsorship, adding personal endorsements with Fred Couples, Luke Donald and Morgan Pressel. RBC already had deals with Anthony Kim, Mike Weir and Stephen Ames.


STAT: The first four PGA Tour events have been decided by one shot. The last time that happened was in 2002, when two of those events were decided in playoffs.

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm