Kim captured the AT&T National Sunday and, among other things, secured a spot on captain Paul Azingers American Ryder Cup team. He also got a call from the recuperating Tiger Woods afterward during which he addressed Woods as Bro.
Im just going to try to keep doing what Im doing, Kim said. Im working hard on making the right decisions on and off the golf course and Im going to keep working hard and see where that gets me.
Well said. These are good times for Anthony Kim.
Watching Kim so efficiently golf his ball at Congressional Sunday reminded me that we have just inched past the halfway mark of calendar 2008 and one of the moments that sticks out, as I look back at the first half of the year, was Kims breakout 5-shot victory in the Wachovia Championship.
It was the first TOUR win for the 23-year-old Kim (he was 22 at the time). And he just looked so good and so confident on that Sunday.
With all due respect to Trevor Immelman, Justin Rose, Geoff Ogilvy, Hunter Mahan and all the other top 20-somethings, I believe Kim will be the one who will eventually succeed Tiger Woods atop the world rankings. It may be five, or even 10, years from now. But Woods cant be No. 1 forever.
Kim has changed for the better in the past two years and he has talked about acquiring a certain amount of maturity on and off the golf course. What I like about this transformation is that he has done so without giving up all the attitude that helped him achieve much of what he has to date.
Earlier this year I reported that Kim was in the process of leaving one agent and looking for another. I made the point on Golf Channel air that this was the kind of distraction that was coming at precisely the wrong time for Kim.
And he took my point to mean that I thought he was reverting to his old ways. That wasnt the case. But I respected his perception. When he learned that I wasnt meaning to be critical of him, things cooled down between us.
The bigger picture is the AT&T National was a wonderful golf backdrop for a Fourth of July weekend that seemed to have more import this year. Our forces are at war in the Middle East. Its an election year. And a slumping American economy is serving up tough times for a lot of people.
All of which, I think, will contribute to a heightened sense of meaning when the Ryder Cup convenes in September in Kentucky.
Im not advocating the jingoistic War By The Shore atmosphere that pervaded much of the U.S. Ryder Cup victory at Kiawah in 1991. But the Europeans should be on notice that there will be an SEC football game atmosphere at the matches. And they will not be playing for the home team.
And, by the way, Id still love to see a U.S. Ryder Cup team with Woody Austin, Paul Goydos, Boo Weekley and Rocco Mediate on the roster. The theater, if not necessarily the result, would be terrific.
Speaking of terrific, the ascendancy of Lorena Ochoa on the womens side (especially at a time in which Annika Sorenstam is preparing to exit the competitive stage) was a tonic for the LPGA in the first half of 2008.
My personal highlight was standing near the banks of the 18th hole water hazard at the Kraft Nabisco in early April while a Mexican mariachi band played and the victorious Ochoa and her friends and family took a victory swim.
Tiger Woods winning four of the six events he entered was bittersweet. Bitter because a bum knee ended his year prematurely. Sweet because his level of excellence had once again risen to the level of the hype that surrounds him every time he shows. The U.S. Open victory will only grow in stature as the years pass.
Woods, meanwhile, is a shoo-in for Player of the Year unless either Phil Mickelson or Trevor Immelman wins the Open Championship and the PGA Championship.
On the subject of the Open Championship, which will be upon us in less than two weeks, a lot of people are suggesting that a victory there will be accompanied by an asterisk because of Woods absence.
The best way to end that debate will be for high drama to unfold Sunday at Royal Birkdale. Something along the lines of a playoff that ends when somebody holes out a shot from the fairway on the final hole to win by a shot.
I know thats unlikely. But if this years British has the kind of memorable conclusion that you can hope for but not predict or expect, nobody will be talking about asterisks.
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