The belt buckle was unmistakable. Already known for wearing garish belt attire adorned with his initials, Kim donned a buckle featuring what appeared to be a diamonds embedded into the letters AK as he played Sundays round at Congressional.
It weighs a lot. It costs at lot, Kim said. Im glad I wore it today. I needed a big day.
Kim said the buckle arrived Wednesday from a clothing company that has him scheduled for a photo shoot on Monday. He wasnt even sure if the sparkling things were diamonds.
It looks like diamonds, and they are pretty upscale, Kim said. So I would be very surprised if it isnt.
As for his Oklahoma drill, Kim said he planned to go to a school closer to his California home and accepted a visit to OU just to get tickets to a football game.
But the Sooners atmosphere at kickoff won him over.
It started pouring rain, Kim said. And I thought everyone was going to leave because thats what I was used to back home. And everyone decided that they were going to take off their shirts and stay. There were people going wild, and I just loved the atmosphere. Thats why I chose OU, because of OU football.
Sure enough, that very, very long par 4 played key role in deciding the AT&T National.
The final groups made a hash of the 518-yard sixth hole in Sundays final round. The hole plays as a par 5 for members, but the PGA Tour decided to make it the third longest par 4 the pros have faced so far this year.
In the next-to-last group, Nick OHearn landed in the front bunker and made bogey. Tim Herron made the green in 2, but he was about 70 feet from the pin and 3-putted for bogey. Jeff Overton had to lay up after putting his drive in the left rough, but he saved par with a tough 20-foot uphill putt.
In the final group, Steve Stricker put his drive to the right and had to lay up. Tommy Armour III drove left and laid up. Tom Pernice Jr. put his approach in the water that hugs the front right of the green.
Stricker and Armour made bogey; Pernice got a double bogey. The results moved Kim'who was two groups ahead'into a three-way tie for the lead, on his way to victory.
Kim, by the way, played the hole well, putting his approach within 17 feet. But he missed the putt and parred the hole.
Perhaps the best moment of mock humor came when Cliff Kresge drove his tee shot into some unseemly left rough, about 10 yards off the fairway. He walked toward his ball and saw three marshals surrounding it.
Must have been a dandy, Kresge said, if it took three of you to find it.
Fredrik Jacobson barely missed qualifying for the British Open last Monday. He didnt realize he would get a second chance at the AT&T National.
Jacobson grabbed one of the final spots available for Royal Birkdale in two weeks with his second-place finish Sunday, shooting 65 to finish two strokes behind Kim.
I didnt know that there was one spot (available) this week, Jacobson said. I played 37 holes in the qualifier, ended up in the playoff and just missed out. Ive actually been pretty tired all week after that one.
Another fatigued qualifier is Rocco Mediate, who finished tied for 18th while attracting some of the weekends largest galleries from fans impressed by his runner-up performance at the U.S. Open.
The last two weeks, theres no way I would have performed like that without (the fans), Mediate said immediately after his closing round of 66. I was on fumes, and I cant wait for this week off. Hopefully Ill be going to Britain.
He will, but the various qualifying scenarios are so complex that he wasnt sure at the time. Dean Wilson, who finished tied for third at the AT&T and did not qualify for the British, gave up trying to figure it all out.
Theres just so many things to keep track of, Wilson said. It was funny yesterday, I was playing with Freddie Couples and he was asking me if I was in the PGA Championship, and I said I dont even know. I dont know where I stand on the Ryder Cup list.
FOURS A CROWD:
Hunter Mahans group was safely on the eighth green, all within 15 feet of the cup, and they were marking their ball when a fourth ball appeared out of nowhere.
It landed on the back of the green, caught the slope and slid by the right side of the cup as the gallery, and the gallery cheered the closer the ball got to the hole, not realizing there already were three balls on the putting surface.
Mahan, Jacobson and Robert Allenby were startled, looking back toward the fairway to see who hit the shot. They soon realized it came from the opposite direction, a snap-hook off the fifth tee by Robert Garrigus.
I might have hit a tree, Allenby said when Garrigus arrived on the wrong green.
No, he replied, I hooked it that bad.
By rule, Garrigus had to take free relief from off the putting surface. John Wood, the caddie for Mahan, had another suggestion.
Just putt out, skip the next four holes and join us, Wood said.
Trent Cryers usual assignment is giving tours of the Pentagon. On Sunday, the Army specialist was in full uniform on the first tee at Congressional Country Club, announcing the groups for the final round of the AT&T National.
Its quite an experience, Cryer said. It gets me out of the building.
In keeping with the tournaments military theme, personnel from all branches of the U.S. armed forces served as first tee and 10th tee announcers each day.
Cryer had the perfect voice for the job, bellowing out each name with plenty of volume and just the right dramatic cadence. He said he didnt ask for autographs or souvenirs from the golfers; a firm handshake was enough.
By the way, does Cryer himself play golf?
I hack at it, he said.
BUSINESS IS SLOW:
Attendance was already down from last year without Tiger Woods in the field, and Sundays rushed schedule made things worse. With thunderstorms in the afternoon forecast, the leaders teed off at 10 a.m. instead of the usual 2 p.m., making for thin galleries and vendors desperate for business.
Programs were sold for $1 instead of $5. A women at a lemonade stand between the ninth and 10th holes practically pleaded for customers.
There were 29,867 spectators, down from the 37,211 who came to the final round a year ago. Attendance for all four days was down 24 percent from last year.
ANOTHER RECORD ROUND:
Peter Lonard matched the course record with a 63 Sunday, becoming the second player in three days to achieve the mark.
Tom Pernice Jr. shot a 63 during the second round on Friday. Both Lonard and Pernice equaled the score posted by Matt Gogel in 2005, when the Booz Allen Classic was played at Congressional.
How much easier was the Blue Course this year? In 2007, not a single player posted four rounds in the 60s. This year, four players did: Kim, Armour, Allenby and Patrick Sheehan.