Beware the Injured Golfer

By Rex HoggardApril 28, 2010, 12:48 am
Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. –“It’s going to happen, just a matter of when?” Anthony Kim reasoned with a dismissive shrug of his shoulders.

No, the young American wasn’t opining on when he’ll land that coveted first major or his second title here at the Quail Hollow Club. Nor was AK talking about the Ryder Cup, although the biennial matches are never far from his mind, or the inevitable jetlag that is coming his way after an 18-hour journey on Monday from Korea to Charlotte.

The inevitable, at least in this case, is a surgical procedure to reattach a torn ligament in Kim’s left thumb, the byproduct doctors say of the wear and tear of the golf swing and a winching constant in his game for the better part of 16 months.
Anthony Kim
Anthony Kim won at Quail Hollow in 2008. (Getty Images)
Not that Kim had any interest on a stormy afternoon of passing the buck for a driver that’s gone sideways. That’s not how things work in the Kim household.

“You don’t want to make excuses,” Kim said. “If there’s anything my parents taught me it’s don’t make excuses.”

Truth is there’s no need for AK to make excuses. Not when your spring card reads runner-up-T-22-first-third with an Augusta National high-wire high-card.

“I take a lot of Advil,” Kim said. “Feel like I should have their logo on my bag.”

His play should be giving his fraternity brothers angina, particularly considering that the strongest part of Kim’s game, his driving, has been turned into a liability in large part because of his injured left thumb.

Kim’s uber-cool swing coach Adam Schreiber told GolfChannel.com that the problem comes with longer clubs. The extra lag causes the club to get stuck behind him and doesn’t allow Kim to fade the ball.

“When Anthony is playing well his strength is his driver,” Schreiber said. “He can drive it up the cart path. That’s what makes this so tough.”

For all those who have questioned Kim’s focus and dedication since he turned pro in 2006 consider this: for the past 16 months he’s been grinding away with a single-minded focus. Winning tournaments, majors? Sure, but what is driving Kim now from flinching swing to flinching swing is the chance to don his second U.S. Ryder Cup uniform later this year in Wales.

To hear Kim tell his tale he doesn’t have a choice.

“I’m not hitting it great but I am scoring well so I feel like I need to keep hammering away,” said Kim, a star of the 2008 Ryder Cup squad.

The math is simple, at least to a 24-year-old with a bag full of Advil. He wants to play all four majors, secure his spot on captain Corey Pavin’s team and, when the pain becomes too unbearable, have surgery on his thumb, a procedure that will take between two and three months to recover from.

They may not have believed in excuses in the Kim childhood home, and they must not have been big on calendars, either. Not when the last putt at “Glory’s Last Shot” drops 45 days before the United States and Europe resume the Transatlantic grudge match.

Even if he skips the PGA Championship and has the surgery following July’s British Open that would leave little time to rehab his thumb and his game for what is clearly the Super Bowl of Kim’s year.

“(The Ryder Cup) is the most important event of the year to him,” Schreiber said. “So for him to find this out in a Ryder Cup year, it’s pretty challenging.”

The alternative is pushing back surgery until after the Grand Slam and Ryder Cup season. Two doctors have told Kim that as long as he can withstand the pain he can do no further damage to his thumb or the ligament.

That explosive swing, however, requires another prognosis. As a rule, injuries create swing flaws, compensations that come naturally to a body instinctively seeking relief.

Kim admits he’s already started to acquire swing flaws as a result of his injury, which explains a driving accuracy percentage that has dipped from 60 percent in 2007 to 56 percent this year.

“He was making some adjustments, but now there are just a few compensations,” Schreiber said. “It’s good with his irons, 90 percent plus. It’s a challenge but the rest of his body is as fit as he’s ever been.”

If he were to lock up his spot on Pavin’s team, say at June’s U.S. Open or thereabouts, would he shut it down and have the surgery?

“Don’t know. I don’t even want to think about it,” he winces. “They pay us for a reason. You play hurt sometimes.”

As clichés go, the kid picked a good one.
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Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 8:30 pm

Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.

Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.

Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.

Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.

Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.

Woods finished his round with a vintage eagle on the par-5 18th hole, finding the green with a 5-wood from 256 yards out and then sinking the 28-foot putt.

The eagle at the last gave Woods a share of the early first-round lead with Rickie Fowler at 5-under 65.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 20, 2018, 8:20 pm

Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.


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Garcia (66) peaking for Ryder Cup?

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 20, 2018, 6:17 pm

Sergio Garcia might be finding his form just in time to terrorize the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Garcia made seven birdies during an opening round of 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.

It was Garcia’s fifth consecutive round of par or better, a stretch that includes rounds of 66-65-67-70-66. That solid play at the Wyndham Championship wasn’t enough to extend his PGA Tour season – he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup playoffs – but the Spaniard is starting to round into form with the Ryder Cup on deck.


Full-field scores from the Portugal Masters


A few weeks ago he was a controversial selection by European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. After missing the cut in all four majors, Garcia could have been left at home in favor of such players as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace (a three-time winner this season who, once again, is at the top of the leaderboard in Portugal), Matt Fitzpatrick or Thomas Pieters. But Bjorn tabbed Garcia, noting his Ryder Cup experience, his sterling foursomes record and his influence in the team room. If Phil Mickelson is the U.S. player under the most pressure to perform in Paris, all eyes will be on Garcia next week – especially since it could be one of his final opportunities to wear a European uniform, as he’ll be 40 for the 2020 matches.

Garcia’s 66 matched his lowest opening round of the year and puts him in position to secure just his second top-10 since March.

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Watch: 100mph storm destroys tent at St. Andrews

By Grill Room TeamSeptember 20, 2018, 4:25 pm

The Old Course at St. Andrews has endured all sorts of wacky weather over the years, but things ratcheted up a notch this week with the arrival of Storm Ali.

The first named storm of the season struck Wednesday, bringing 100 mph gusts, killing two people and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power in parts of Ireland, Scotland and England.

According to the Courier no one was injured in the St. Andrews area, but a video posted from the home of golf shows just how powerful the storm was as wind absolutely destroyed one of the hospitality tents set up in advance of the Dunhill Links Championship:

While plenty of clean-up is sure to be needed, officials say the Dunhill Links, which also be conducted at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, will go on as scheduled October 4-7.