Anthony Kim speaks: Golf only 'a fond memory' now

By Doug FergusonSeptember 30, 2015, 12:20 pm

Anthony Kim was tired of whispers on the PGA Tour about what was wrong with him and his game, so he found a patch of grass behind a row of trees down from the practice range at Quail Hollow and hit balls for two hours.

This was where he won his first PGA Tour event in 2008, when he was fearless, brash and backed it all up with an exciting brand of golf. He ended that year by demolishing Sergio Garcia in the leadoff singles match at the Ryder Cup, the last time the Americans won.

Kim referred to Quail Hollow as the start of his career. ''Hopefully, I can start a new one here,'' he said. Two days later, he shot 74 and walked straight to his car, dumped his clubs in the trunk and drove away.

That was 2012, and he hasn't been back.

''Golf is a fond memory of mine,'' Kim said Tuesday, his first interview in three years. ''I've been watching more and more. I miss the competition a little bit. Watching these young guys like Jordan Spieth is bringing me back to watch.''

Is it enough to bring him back to play?

Not yet. Maybe not ever.

''Here's what I'm telling you today,'' he said. ''I'm going to step away from the game for a little while and get my body pieced together. Instead of going from an Achilles injury to try to go 180 mph and not fixing the problem ... I've got so much ground to make up from injuries - rotator cuff, labrum, spinal fusion, hand injury. I've had six or seven surgeries in the last three-and-a-half years.''

Asked if it was possible that he played his last round on the PGA Tour at age 26, Kim paused, chuckled and said, ''Anything is possible. Isn't that what the slogan says?''

Paul Azinger, the Ryder Cup captain at Valhalla where Kim emerged as a star, was among those who could not believe that someone with so much talent could be done at such a young age.

''His energy and enthusiasm, his killer instinct, it all converged into him becoming our team leader,'' Azinger said.

Kim's immediate future is a business venture with Dallas-based Quality Metrics Partners that was started with longtime friend and caddie Brodie Flanders and two others, including Mike Knall, a former punter for the Oklahoma Sooners. It provides ancillary service management in the health care industry. Kim said he made a substantial investment, which he made back within months.

His joy comes from a stronger relationship with his mother. Kim spent three weeks with her in South Korea, sees her at least once a month and was headed to his native Los Angeles to sign the papers on a house he just bought for her in Beverly Hills.

He said he has not played a full round of golf in nearly 18 months. Physical therapy occupies most of his time.

Kim didn't entirely disappear, though sightings have been rare and have led to rumors, including one that he was sleeping on the streets of Las Vegas because he was out of money.

He earned just over $12 million in five full seasons on the PGA Tour and says he saved up more money than people realize. The stories and photos on social media over the years painted a wild side to Kim. He doesn't deny he lived different than most golfers, nor will be apologize.

''If you don't like the way I live, change the channel. You're the one who tuned in here,'' Kim said. ''A lot of the golf public may not appreciate the way I live, which is by my own rules. But I give everyone respect. I'm not rude to anyone. And I treat everyone the same.''

He said he is getting monthly payments from an insurance policy he took out five years ago in case he was injured. But he denied speculation in a magazine story last fall that the policy was a factor that is keeping him from returning to the PGA Tour.

''I paid well into the mid-six figures for the policy,'' he said. ''They wouldn't have paid me every month had I not been to the doctors, showing them all my X-rays, doing all the treatment, the acupuncture, twice a day for physical therapy.''

He also explained his departure from Quail Hollow that day. Kim said he ignored his summons for drug testing when he walked to the parking lot, though he eventually was tested.

''I was mad about how I played. I injured myself again. I ended up coming back and taking the test,'' he said. ''I've never tested positive for anything since I've been on the PGA Tour whenever the drug testing started. Never. And they tested me more than anyone.

''These rumors tainted my reputation,'' he said, ''and I didn't have a great one to begin with.''

Kim had no idea he would be gone this long. He played golf with Phil Mickelson at the Madison Club in the California desert. He rented a house in San Diego to prepare for the 2013 season. He said he was up at 5 a.m. every day to train when his Achilles tendon popped. Once he recovered from the leg, he had a herniated disc. And the injuries piled up.

Golf moved on without him. He still has a major medical exemption he can use if he ever returns. Kim would have to earn $613,500 in 16 events to keep his card.

But even Kim can't say that he will return.

He described his health as a ''6'' on a scale of 1 to 10 and said he was coping with thoracic outlet syndrome. He also said he was in the process of moving, hiring a trainer and getting back to full health with hopes of giving golf one last chance.

''What Spieth and (Jason) Day did this year was ridiculous,'' he said. ''I'm not going to compete with those boys unless I'm healthy. I'm not playing with 11 clubs. My goal right now for the next year is to get healthy. At this point, I'm happy where I'm at where I'm headed.''

Kim was given a chance to provide his own answer to a question that has been raised plenty over the last two years.

Whatever happened to Anthony Kim?

''Ask me in two years,'' he said.

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

“This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

“I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

“I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

“We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”