Kim looking to surpass early PGA Tour success

By Doug FergusonFebruary 3, 2010, 12:40 am
Anthony Kim won twice, starred in the Ryder Cup and climbed to No. 6 in the world ranking. That was two years ago, and it would seem the 24-year-old American would strive to get back to that level.

But as he makes his PGA Tour debut this week in Los Angeles, Kim is aiming higher.

“After the year I had two years ago, even though people said it was a breakout year, I don’t feel like I did anything super special,” Kim said on Tuesday. “I would like to do something super special this year.”

anthony kim
Anthony Kim makes his 2010 PGA Tour debut this week at the Northern Trust Open. (Getty Images)

And what does he have in mind?

“Win golf tournaments,” he said. “Nobody cares if you finish in the top 10.”

Even before Tiger Woods took his indefinite break, Kim thought he’d get plenty of attention in what could be a pivotal year to determine whether he makes the most of his talent or makes excuses.

For a guy like Kim, it’s a backhanded compliment when the PGA Tour refers to his 2009 season in the media guide this way: “Despite failing to reach the career-best numbers he posted in 2008, (he) still managed to finish No. 35 in the FedEx Cup standings.”

Kim said his only entourage this year will be his personal assistant, caddie and occasionally his swing coach, another change from having a posse of friends with him at most tournaments.

He already has managed to be in the news this year. Kim became the scapegoat for the Bob Hope Classic’s weak field when he was among nine PGA Tour players who took releases to play in Abu Dhabi. All nine were European Tour members, six of them were Europeans. Kim took heat as the only American, not to mention a kid who went to high school not far from the tournament.

Kim offered no apologies, saying that he will be playing more PGA Tour events than the 22 he played last year.

“We’re trying to grow the game everywhere. It’s not just about the PGA Tour,” he said. “If golf grows on the European Tour, in Asia, that only helps the PGA Tour. That’s where I wanted to start my season.”

Scott McCarron, who seems to be in the news a lot these days, was among those who criticized Kim for skipping the Hope. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but Kim ran into McCarron on Sunday in the Palm Springs, California area.

He said McCarron tried to explain what he meant in his comments, although Kim didn’t seem terribly interested.

“I saw what Scott said. He’s on the player board (Players Advisory Council), and his opinion got out in the media more than it usually would, or would at all,” Kim said. “I saw him a couple of days ago, briefly. He mentioned something about it. But he really didn’t bring it up to me, so there was really nothing for me to say to him.”

Going into a pivotal year, Kim is mainly interested in delivering a message through his scores.


VOTAW DIVORCED: Less than four years after Ty Votaw married Sophie Gustafson of Sweden, whom he began dating while still commissioner of the LPGA Tour, the couple has divorced.

According to records in St. Johns County, Florida, the marriage was dissolved on Jan. 25, and the judge ordered the case sealed a day later. Votaw is the PGA Tour’s chief spokesman, who also spearheaded the successful bid to get golf back in the Olympics. Gustafson has 23 victories worldwide and has played on the last seven Solheim Cup teams.

Votaw took on some controversy and even a LPGA board review of the relationship (it saw no conflict) when he began dating Gustafson in 2002 after his first marriage ended in divorce. He retired as LPGA commissioner in 2005, and they married in June 2006.

Contacted by e-mail, Votaw declined to comment.


STICKING WITH WHAT WORKS: Steve Stricker was a rising American star in 1996 when he won twice and finished No. 4 on the PGA Tour money list. Endorsement offers followed, Stricker changed clubs and it was a contributing factor to his plunge into obscurity.

Even in the midst of a great revival, Stricker is mindful not to repeat history.

He has stuck with Titleist while climbing to No. 3 in the world ranking and becoming a staple on Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams. And he is hesitant to fix what’s not broken.

Stricker is still using the 755 irons, which he first began using four years ago. Titleist has come out with two new versions from that model of irons, yet Stricker isn’t about to change. He even has duct tape on one club where a plastic label has come off.

“I have a hard time coming off the years I had and changing something,” Stricker said.

Not that he’s unwilling to try. Stricker had the new Titleist AP2 irons in his bag at the Chevron World Challenge in December and shot a 65 in the final round at Sherwood to finish 10th. When he arrived in Hawaii, his old clubs were back in play.

“I’m kind of snakebit from 13 years ago,” Stricker said. “I’m very cautious to change.”


DALY DOINGS: John Daly already has received two sponsor exemptions on the PGA Tour this year. Pebble Beach is not one of them.

The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am has one of the more peculiar criteria. It takes winners of the tournament, the four majors and The Players Championship dating to 2005 – and all such winners before 2000.

Daly qualifies because of his majors (1991 and 1995), while Todd Hamilton (2004 British Open) does not. Matt Gogel (now retired) would not be eligible for winning Pebble in 2002, while Brett Ogle would be eligible for winning in 1993.

Daly, meanwhile, said on Twitter that his partner next week would be Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.


DIVOTS: Ben Crane has three PGA Tour trophies, two of them collector’s items – the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee and AT&T Classic outside Atlanta no longer exist. … The Royal Bank of Canada is expanding its golf sponsorship, adding personal endorsements with Fred Couples, Luke Donald and Morgan Pressel. RBC already had deals with Anthony Kim, Mike Weir and Stephen Ames.


STAT: The first four PGA Tour events have been decided by one shot. The last time that happened was in 2002, when two of those events were decided in playoffs.

Getty Images

Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."

Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of [Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.

Getty Images

D. Kang, M. Jutanugarn in four-way tie at Volvik

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:50 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Amy Olson crossed paths with her coach, Ron Stockton, on her walk to the 18th tee at the Volvik Championship.

''Make it another even $20,'' Stockton said.

The coach was already prepared to give his client $35 for making seven birdies - $5 each - and wanted to take her mind off the bogey she just had at 17.

Olson closed the first round with a 6-under 66, putting her into the lead she ended up sharing later Thursday with Moriya Jutanugarn , Caroline Masson and Danielle Kang.

Do small, cash incentives really help a professional golfer?

''Absolutely,'' said Olson, who graduated from North Dakota State with an accounting degree. ''He'll tell you I'm a little bit of a hustler there.''

Olson will have to keep making birdies - and petty cash - to hold her position at Travis Pointe Country Club.

Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 and six others were to shots back.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

The Jutanugarn sisters are Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year.

Moriya Jutanugarn won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles.

''What I feel is more relaxed now,'' she said. ''And, of course I like looking forward for my next one.''

Olson, meanwhile, is hoping to extend the LPGA Tour's streak of having a new winner in each of its 12 tournaments this year.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


She knows how to win. It just has been a while since it has happened.

Olson set an NCAA record with 20 wins, breaking the mark set by LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but has struggled to have much success since turning pro in 2013.

She has not finished best finish was a tie for seventh and that was four years ago. She was in contention to win the ANA Inspiration two months ago, but an even-par 72 dropped her into a tie for ninth place.

If the North Dakota player wins the Volvik Championship, she will earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. If Olson finishes second or lower in the 144-player field, she will enjoy an off week with her husband, Grant, who coaches linebackers at Indiana State.

''I'll make the best of it either way,'' she said.

Olson was at her best in the opening round on the front nine, closing it with four birdies in a six-hole stretch. Her ball rolled just enough to slowly drop in the cup for birdie on the par-3, 184-yard 13th. She had three birdies in five-hole stretch on the back, nearly making her second hole-in-one of the year at the par-3, 180-yard 16th. A short putt gave her a two-stroke lead, but it was cut to one after pulling and misreading a 6-foot putt to bogey the 17th.

Even if she doesn't hold on to win the tournament, Olson is on pace to have her best year on the LPGA Tour. She is No. 39 on the money list after finishing 97th, 119th, 81st and 80th in her first four years.

''Two years ago, I started working with Ron Stockton and whenever you make a change, it doesn't show up right away,'' Olson said. ''That first year was tough, but we've turned a corner and I've just found a lot of consistency in the last year. And, it's a lot of fun to go out there and play golf a little more stress free.''

Stockton helped her stay relaxed, walking along the ropes during her morning round.

''Maybe some people feel a little more pressure when their coach is there,'' she said. ''I'm like, 'Great. If he sees the mistake, he knows what can go wrong and we can go fix it.' So, I like having his eyes on me.''

Getty Images

Club pro part of 6-way tie atop Sr. PGA

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:04 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Nevada club professional Stuart Smith shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


McCarron won the Senior Players Championship last year for his first senior major.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer is skipping the event to attend son Jason's high school graduation, and Steve Stricker is playing the PGA Tour event in Texas.