Kim returns to action after three months off
He really, really needs to play the four rounds.
After not teeing it up for even a single hole for the past three months while recovering from surgery to repair ligament damage in his left thumb, Kim doesn’t know what to expect.
“I have four days of golf guaranteed, even if I shoot 110,” he said on Tuesday. “I haven’t played much golf, but I’m excited to be here.”
Kim’s thumb was hurting when he won the Houston Open, and when he finished third at the Masters. It reached a point where he knew he had to do something about the injury. The biggest risk was dropping in the Ryder Cup standings because one of his primary goals the rest of the year is making the U.S. side.
“At Quail Hollow I started feeling like other parts of my body were breaking down because of my thumb, and I was starting to compensate. Just to prevent any further damage anywhere else, I wanted to get it taken care of,” he said. “But 100 percent I wanted to be back for the Ryder Cup and try to do as much as I can to make that team. I think the timing was right.”
Kim was No. 2 in the U.S. rankings when he had the surgery on May 5. He’s only dropped to fifth despite the time away.
“To even fall to No. 5 isn’t a great feeling, but I know I can take care of that with some good play and not worry about that,” he said.
Just a couple of hours after he came out of surgery, he called U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin. He tried to make his case to not be forgotten while he was out.
“I told him, ‘Listen to this and I’m done, I won’t bother you again. I want to play on your team so bad that the reason I played hurt is to make the team. I promise you if you put me on the team, I’m going to have a good attitude going over there. I’m the kind of player you want,”’ he said.
Kim didn’t do anything terribly dramatic or adventurous during his sabbatical. He hung around his house in Dallas with his friends, spent a lot of time with his mother and got a new French bulldog named Deebo.
“It was nice to spend time with my mom, and it was nice to spend time with my dog and be at home and just be a normal 25-year-old kid who gets to hang out at the house,” he said. “It’s been very nice for me to be at home and not worry about what’s going on in the golf world and just relax. And then come out here with a fresh attitude.”
It’s clear that he didn’t pay much attention to what happened in golf while he was away. He said he hadn’t seen much about the recent 59s shot in competition on the PGA Tour (by Paul Goydos in the first round of the John Deere and Stuart Appleby on Sunday in the final round of the Greenbrier). He had never heard of South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen before he coasted to victory in the British Open two weeks ago. And he wasn’t aware that international players had won 16 of the 33 tour events overall and 11 of the last 15.
Now Kim is hoping to get back in the groove, week by week, while proving himself to Pavin.
“It doesn’t feel like I’m hitting it as hard as I would if I had a couple more weeks, but I hit about 10 drivers yesterday and it doesn’t feel like I have the same pop,” he said. “But it’s going straight, which hasn’t been the case the whole year. Just to have my thumb attached to my hand has been a plus.”
NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times
The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.
- Quarterfinals: Alabama def. Kent State, 4-1
- Quartefinals: USC def. Duke, 3.5-1.5
- Quarterfinals: UCLA vs. Arizona
- Quarterfinals: Northwestern vs. Stanford
- Individual stroke play
TV Times (all times ET):
11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals
UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year
UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).
Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.
Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:
WGCA First Team All-Americans
- Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
- Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
- Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
- Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
- Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
- Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
- Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
- Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
- Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
- Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
- Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
- Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament
Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.
Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.
Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.
The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity, MAXimumChances.org, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.
Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.
Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.
Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.
Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.
At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.