Kim All Grown Up

By Rex HoggardJanuary 5, 2011, 11:16 pm
It was a textbook study in contrasts. Four years ago this month, I huddled with Anthony Kim on a hill adjacent the 18th green of PGA West’s Palmer Course. The 21-year-old came as advertised – bold and brash just three rounds into his rookie campaign.

Fast forward four long and surprisingly eventful years, to another cold California hill adjacent Sherwood Country Club’s scenic closing hole. This time AK is an “old” 25, weathered by more ebbs and flows than a Goldman Sachs stock option and, even more importantly, shaken by the realization that the game that at times has come so easily to him could be whisked away by the capriciousness of a single frayed ligament.

Anthony Kim
Anthony Kim has three career PGA Tour victories. (Getty Images)
“The next three weeks we’re going to grind through Hawaii and keep grinding,” Kim said last month at the Chevron World Challenge. “I know I practice in spurts, but I learned this year how important golf was to me and that it can go away pretty fast with something as little as a thumb injury.”

To put Kim’s “A” ticket ride in context, a history lesson is called for.

In 2008 Kim won twice on Tour, prestigious mid-major crowns at Quail Hollow and AT&T National, and was a hero of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, leading the way with a particularly dominating Sunday singles victory over Sergio Garcia.

Run ragged by a global schedule in 2009 (29 international events) he managed just three top-10 finishes and failed to advance to the Tour Championship. On cue, 2010 was shaping up to be a rebound year – with a victory at the Shell Houston Open and a third-place brush with Masters fame the following week – until surgery in May to repair ligament damage in his left thumb derailed the process.

In between there were allegations, by a Tour player no less, of late-night carousing before his Sunday match at the 2009 Presidents Cup; wild, and wildly unsubstantiated, reports of copious partying in Las Vegas this year; and untold speculation over his chronically wavering focus.

But know this about Anthony Kim: he does not make excuses. The 21-year-old at the 2007 Bob Hope Classic may not have been a picture of responsibility, but the 25-year-old version – for all his flaws and unfathomable talent – has no interest in denial or misdirection – particularly when asked if he had finally gotten a handle on what can only be described as a form of competitive A.D.D.

“Whether it’s been in high school or college or the pros, I’d say I practice in spurts. When I go, I go as hard as I can for a month and after that I want to take a month off,” Kim said. “I need to just consistently put in the time and I’m going to do that this year.”

In Kim’s defense, last year’s lapse was less about passion than it was about pain. The surgery in May was slow to heal and when he did return, the omnipresent “pinch” at impact begat compensations which begat bad habits.

“Through his injuries he developed very un-AK-like patterns,” long-time swing coach Adam Schreiber said. “It was really frustrating.”

Among some of these patterns was an increased use of Kim’s lower body, specifically his legs, to compensate for his inability to use his left hand as much as he normally had. As a result, Schreiber said Kim, who historically played a fade, developed a draw swing path.

“He’d try to hit that fade and would just pull it left,” Schreiber said.

The training room axiom “no one has ever come back too late from an injury” seems apropos. Against better judgment, Kim returned to the Tour at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August in an attempt to make Corey Pavin’s Ryder Cup team, missed four consecutive cuts and failed to advance to East Lake or Celtic Manor.

“I wasn’t ready,” Kim concedes. “I was just trying to get points for the Ryder Cup. Once I got on a bad streak there I couldn’t fix my golf swing. I couldn’t practice and that really hurt my golf swing.”

Kim said his Wednesday practice round at Chevron was his first “pain free” loop in more than a year and Schreiber added that the bad habits he’d picked up along the comeback trail are starting to fade.

Even more encouraging, however, is the intensity in Kim’s voice when he talks about 2011. He cancelled a snowboarding trip to Montana in December to put in extra time to prepare for this week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions and has gotten back some of the “pop” he lost as a result of the injury.

The “pop” has also returned to his step, smiling as he bound up the hill to Sherwood’s clubhouse last month – the energy of a teenager combined with the clarity of thought of a suddenly seasoned 25-year-old.

Whether that drive is sustainable remains to be seen, but the biggest difference between the 2007 brash rookie and the slightly bruised ’11 version is his willingness to accept ownership of what he does on and off the golf course.

“What really impresses me is he’s not using the injury as an excuse,” Schreiber said. “He is really growing up and it’s awesome.”
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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
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.