The name Anthony Kim rings a bell with most golf fans and then is often paired with the “oh yeah, whatever happened to him” response. Most remember his incredible performance in the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla, his flamboyant and shiny belt buckles, and his swashbuckling style that quickly made him one of the best players in the game in a very short time. Then as we reminisce, we remember it ended just as quickly as it began.
Kim turned in pro in 2006 after playing 3 years at the University of Oklahoma. He tied for 2nd in his pro debut at the Valero Texas Open but earned his card through Q-school for the 2007 season. After shooting a final round 67 at the ’07 US Open, it was no doubt he belonged and was ready to win. He won the 2008 Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow and AT&T Championship. This run got him as high as 6th in the Official World Golf Rankings. In 2009 he set a Masters record with 11 birdies in a round and went 3-1 on that year’s President’s Cup team. AK then won his 3rd tournament in 2010 at the Shell Houston Open, beating Vaughn Taylor in a playoff. He became only the 5th player in the last 30 years to have 3 tour wins before the age of 25, joining names like Tiger, Phil, Sergio, and Adam Scott. But the injuries began to pile up and Kim failed to qualify for the 2010 Ryder Cup team.
Throughout his career rumors swirled that Anthony Kim was wild and liked to party, living the life of a rock star and not of a disciplined touring pro. It’s been heard that Robert Allenby saw Kim out the night before their singles match at the 2009 Presidents Cup, and that Kim was so drunk he fell down the steps. Well the next morning Kim smoked Allenby 5 & 3. After Achilles surgery and a couple back procedures, Kim played just 10 starts in 2012, and at age 26 would never tee it up in a PGA Tour event again. Injuries to his rotator cuff, spine, labrum, and hand lead to 7 more surgeries in the next 3 years.
AK made just over $12 million during his run on the PGA Tour, yet there were rumors that he had cashed in on an insurance policy he had taken out on himself in case of injury. Had he done so he wouldn’t be permitted to ever re-join the PGA Tour, so some speculated that is why we hadn’t seen him. Kim denies those claims. But like Big Foot, a pic here and there of AK will show up on social media in his element…drink in hand at a party, Oklahoma function, or just out with friends. “If you don’t like the way I live, that’s ok. A lot of the golf public may not appreciate the way I live but I’m polite and respectful whenever a fan recognizes me.”
In 2016, Kim played in a handful of charity events and a video of his current swing even popped up on social media, which all caused a frenzy of thoughts of maybe he had the bug again and was ready to give it a go. He was not. “Ask me in 2 years”, he said. Well it’s now been 4 and the game remains Kim-less. He did let us in to his thoughts on the current state of the tour at least, saying “I just can’t compete with Jordan (Spieth) and those guys as of now.” Well we’d love to see him try one day.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional