Beware the Injured Golfer

By Rex HoggardApril 28, 2010, 12:48 am
Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. –“It’s going to happen, just a matter of when?” Anthony Kim reasoned with a dismissive shrug of his shoulders.

No, the young American wasn’t opining on when he’ll land that coveted first major or his second title here at the Quail Hollow Club. Nor was AK talking about the Ryder Cup, although the biennial matches are never far from his mind, or the inevitable jetlag that is coming his way after an 18-hour journey on Monday from Korea to Charlotte.

The inevitable, at least in this case, is a surgical procedure to reattach a torn ligament in Kim’s left thumb, the byproduct doctors say of the wear and tear of the golf swing and a winching constant in his game for the better part of 16 months.
Anthony Kim
Anthony Kim won at Quail Hollow in 2008. (Getty Images)
Not that Kim had any interest on a stormy afternoon of passing the buck for a driver that’s gone sideways. That’s not how things work in the Kim household.

“You don’t want to make excuses,” Kim said. “If there’s anything my parents taught me it’s don’t make excuses.”

Truth is there’s no need for AK to make excuses. Not when your spring card reads runner-up-T-22-first-third with an Augusta National high-wire high-card.

“I take a lot of Advil,” Kim said. “Feel like I should have their logo on my bag.”

His play should be giving his fraternity brothers angina, particularly considering that the strongest part of Kim’s game, his driving, has been turned into a liability in large part because of his injured left thumb.

Kim’s uber-cool swing coach Adam Schreiber told that the problem comes with longer clubs. The extra lag causes the club to get stuck behind him and doesn’t allow Kim to fade the ball.

“When Anthony is playing well his strength is his driver,” Schreiber said. “He can drive it up the cart path. That’s what makes this so tough.”

For all those who have questioned Kim’s focus and dedication since he turned pro in 2006 consider this: for the past 16 months he’s been grinding away with a single-minded focus. Winning tournaments, majors? Sure, but what is driving Kim now from flinching swing to flinching swing is the chance to don his second U.S. Ryder Cup uniform later this year in Wales.

To hear Kim tell his tale he doesn’t have a choice.

“I’m not hitting it great but I am scoring well so I feel like I need to keep hammering away,” said Kim, a star of the 2008 Ryder Cup squad.

The math is simple, at least to a 24-year-old with a bag full of Advil. He wants to play all four majors, secure his spot on captain Corey Pavin’s team and, when the pain becomes too unbearable, have surgery on his thumb, a procedure that will take between two and three months to recover from.

They may not have believed in excuses in the Kim childhood home, and they must not have been big on calendars, either. Not when the last putt at “Glory’s Last Shot” drops 45 days before the United States and Europe resume the Transatlantic grudge match.

Even if he skips the PGA Championship and has the surgery following July’s British Open that would leave little time to rehab his thumb and his game for what is clearly the Super Bowl of Kim’s year.

“(The Ryder Cup) is the most important event of the year to him,” Schreiber said. “So for him to find this out in a Ryder Cup year, it’s pretty challenging.”

The alternative is pushing back surgery until after the Grand Slam and Ryder Cup season. Two doctors have told Kim that as long as he can withstand the pain he can do no further damage to his thumb or the ligament.

That explosive swing, however, requires another prognosis. As a rule, injuries create swing flaws, compensations that come naturally to a body instinctively seeking relief.

Kim admits he’s already started to acquire swing flaws as a result of his injury, which explains a driving accuracy percentage that has dipped from 60 percent in 2007 to 56 percent this year.

“He was making some adjustments, but now there are just a few compensations,” Schreiber said. “It’s good with his irons, 90 percent plus. It’s a challenge but the rest of his body is as fit as he’s ever been.”

If he were to lock up his spot on Pavin’s team, say at June’s U.S. Open or thereabouts, would he shut it down and have the surgery?

“Don’t know. I don’t even want to think about it,” he winces. “They pay us for a reason. You play hurt sometimes.”

As clichés go, the kid picked a good one.
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Watch that time Tiger throttled Ames, 9 and 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 4:54 pm

Nine and eight. Three words that live in golf lore. Just say them and any golf fan can tell you what they mean.

In the 2006 WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods faced Stephen Ames in the opening round. Ames, when asked prior to the event about his chance of winning, infamously said, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting it."

What happened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at La Coasta Resort & Spa, was the most lopsided result in tournament history: 9 and 8 Check out the highlights below:

After his win, Woods was asked if Ames' comment had motivated him. Woods replied, "9 and 8."

Woods eventually lost, 1 up, to Chad Campbell in the third round. He then won his next start at Doral and went on to finish the season with six consecutive Tour wins, including The Open and PGA. He also won his first start in 2007 to make it seven consecutive Tour titles.

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Schedule change, caddie change for Casey at Match Play

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 4:12 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Paul Casey originally planned to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opting for two weeks off before the Masters.

Those plans changed when he removed the Arnold Palmer Invitational from his schedule and returned home to England last week to attend the funeral of a family friend. That adjustment also prompted a caddie change this week, with Scott Vail stepping in for the Englishman’s normal caddie, John McLaren.

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“We looked at tickets and it just didn't make sense for Johnny to fly back. We try and base our schedule around playing the best golf possible, but also having quality family time,” Casey said on Tuesday at Austin Country Club. “For Johnny to break up a nice three-week break with his family, there was no point to ruining that.”

This isn’t the first time Casey, who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, has needed a replacement caddie. At last year’s Travelers Championship, McLaren took a similar break and was replaced on the bag by Shannon Wallace. Although it’s not uncommon for caddies to take a week off, McLaren does have one stipulation.

“The only rule we have is that if Johnny is not going to work, he picks my caddie. So he picked the caddie,” said Casey, who is 20-12-1 in 12 starts at the Match Play and has advanced to the championship match twice.

Westchester Country Club hosted the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship. (Getty) Getty Images

Westchester selected to host 2021 U.S. Women's Am

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 3:20 pm

The USGA announced Tuesday that Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., has been selected to host the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur. The tournament will be held Aug. 2-8, 2021.

The club's West Course first hosted the event in 1923, and it boasts a storied history of professional tournaments as well. The PGA Tour hosted the Westchester Classic, later known as the Buick Classic and eventually The Barclays, at Westchester from 1967-2007, including the first-ever FedExCup playoff event, won by Steve Stricker in 2007.

The course was also the site of the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, won by Fred Couples, and the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, won by Inbee Park.

"The USGA is thrilled to bring the U.S. Women's Amateur to Westchester Country Club for the second time," Stuart Francis, USGA championship committee chairman, said in a release. "One of the USGA's three oldest championships, the Women's Amateur consistently identifies the world's top female players, and we are confident Westchester will provide the ultimate test for the championship's 121st playing."

First held in 1895, the Women's Amateur is open to players with a USGA handicap index not exceeding 5.4. Sophia Schubert won last year's event at San Diego Country Club, while this year's tournament will be held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.

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Stock Watch: Park rises again, under the radar

By Ryan LavnerMarch 20, 2018, 12:48 pm

Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Rory (+10%): The massive drives, the fist pumps, the unmistakable strut – McIlroy finally found the spark that he needed to play confident, aggressive golf. Bring on Augusta and his shot at history.

Tiger (+7%): It was another forgettable end to a final round, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: Five events into his comeback, Woods has now carded 10 consecutive rounds of par or better – all on tough tracks – and can be viewed as a legitimate threat at the Masters. Remarkable, really.

Inbee Park (+5%): Fighting injuries and questioning whether she should retire, the Queen ‘Bee routed a top field in just her second start back. Stud.

Bryson (+3%): When The Machine operates properly, he’s one of the best ball-strikers in the world. Yes, he’s still painfully slow, but there’s no denying his talent – his runner-up against a star-studded field should help him tremendously.

Laura Davies (+2%): Fifty-four years old and nursing an Achilles injury, she turned back the clock with one of the coolest performances of the young season, on any tour. She’s still got tons of game.


Henrik Stenson (-1%): Maybe he’s just destined to go winless at Bay Hill. In the past four years, he’s had three excellent chances to win there and came away empty-handed each time.

Rickie (-2%): Hanging near the lead, Fowler closed his third round bogey-double, then shot 74 in the final round to drop out of the top 10. Sigh.  

P-Reed (-3%): His whiny protest to a rules official about a free drop – “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth” – got even juicier when the Ryder Cup partners were drawn in the same group at the Match Play. Get your popcorn ready.

Ted Potter Jr. (-5%): His impressive victory at Pebble Beach over DJ, Phil and J-Day is looking more and more like a fluke each week. He’s now missed four consecutive cuts.

Fan behavior (-7%): Another week, another player complaining about increasingly hostile spectators. The Tour has (frustratingly) remained quiet on the issue, but the tipping point will come when one of these dopes affects the outcome on the 72nd hole.