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.”
Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup
There was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.
Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.
“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”
The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.
“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”
While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.
When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”
Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out
Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.
Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.
Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.
"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."
The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.
While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.
"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."
For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:
Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA
FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.
In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.
Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.
Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.
''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''
Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.
Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup
Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.
His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.
After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.
"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."
After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.
"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."
Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller.
"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."