Top Links:

Get A Golf Handicap

UK Golf Guide

Golfshake Top 100s

Find Golf Travel Deals

Golf Competitions


Community Forum


Tee Times | Search | Reviews


Gear | Tour | Industry Insider


Video Library | Tuition Sections


Join | Log In | Help | Useful Links


The Idea of Anthony Kim is More Exciting Than Reality

By: | Fri 26 Jan 2024

Men's professional golf has long adopted the unpredictable chaos of a flagging television soap opera that has resorted to throwing the proverbial at the wall when penning its storylines, so this latest, bombshell twist that Anthony Kim (remember him?) is currently plotting an unlikely comeback to the sport seems a completely natural extension of the madness.

Kim, who last played competitively 12 years ago, has reportedly been in talks with both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf in pursuit of a potential return to the game that he stepped away from at the age of 26 after undergoing surgery following an injury to the Achilles tendon in his left leg.

Since then, tales of his whereabouts and plans have become the stuff of mythology, with a lucrative insurance policy sustaining a lifestyle away from the spotlight and wider scrutiny. 

But now, something has changed. Breaking the story at GOLF.com, Dylan Dethier wrote: "Kim has spent the last few months in discussions with the PGA Tour, LIV and potential sponsors as he plots a way back, multiple sources familiar with those discussions told GOLF. He’s been playing more golf. He’s been ramping up workouts. He’s confident in his game. That part, people say, definitely hasn’t changed. Now, it’s just a matter of where he makes his return."

Social media was giddy with excitement at the prospect of seeing Kim back. Whatever metric you studied, he was trending. Considering that much of the online discourse in golf of late has been divisive and dominated by shady corporate gymnastics with complex geopolitics underneath the surface, it was somewhat refreshing to behold a positive, enthusiastic reaction to a story, but there is an element to the response that is bewildering.

We should remind ourselves that Kim didn't win a major championship, he never became world number one, his grand total of three PGA Tour victories was matched by Viktor Hovland during two glorious months last summer. But yet, people have remembered him, which is a sign that public recognition is often an inexplicable beast.

There are celebrities out there who became famous for reasons that no one can quite identify. Nonetheless, column inches are dominated by them, while millions avidly follow their every move online. And we don't really know why.

It's not a new phenomenon, either. The general public has always demanded the presence of larger-than-life personalities that the rest of us can gawp at. Whether it be the gladiators of Ancient Rome or the outrageous socialites of Georgian Britain, we are fascinated by those who are elevated above the norm. 

Going back to the middle part of the 2000s, there was a growing sense that golf needed a successor to Tiger Woods. None of the prominent candidates among the everyday beige brigade on tour would suffice. Yes, we had Phil Mickelson regularly winning majors, but he was older and had been around for too long to be fashionable.

And then we met Anthony Kim. He was young, played aggressively and had undoubted panache. There was a personality to his game and demeanour - which admittedly wasn't to everyone's liking. He had an active social life. And when he was on, my goodness he was on. He made 11 birdies during the second round at the 2009 Masters. The following year at Augusta he shot a Sunday 65 to finish third. He also posted a pair of top ten finishes in the Open. He was a major winner in waiting.

Back then, winning a trio of titles before the age of 25 was rarer than the youngsters of today have made it seem. When he lit up the Ryder Cup in 2008 while paired alongside Mickelson before going out first and crushing Sergio Garcia in the singles, the United States had found its Captain America before anyone had even heard of Patrick Reed.

It almost seemed too good to be true - probably because it was. Kim's last victory came in April 2010 before injuries took over. He didn't even qualify for a second Ryder Cup appearance that year. By the time 2011 came to a close, he had fallen to 78th in the world rankings. Six months later he was gone and never to be seen again - or so we thought.

The mystery around his status during the past decade has created a legend around Kim that belies his comparatively limited achievements. 

And now we have suits at the PGA Tour and LIV seemingly clamouring to find a way to accommodate him in the year 2024.

It doesn't say much for golf's ability to create resonating stars - but wherever he lands, there will be intrigue. The question is whether that will sustain itself beyond an initial glance or two.

When Kim shows face and plays again, the mystique will be gone. We'll hear about what he's been doing all this time. His game will be on full display. Our imaginations are more powerful and alluring than reality - but that is all we'll be left with once he returns.

Anthony Kim is nearing 40 and should no longer be the person he remains in our distant memories. And he can't be the same golfer either. He's coming back to a sport that has not only been ripped apart at the highest level but is increasingly populated by those who were barely of school age when he was striding around wearing an oversized belt buckle.

Golf fans want to see the "AK" they can vaguely recall. And the one who has resided in a quiet corner of their imaginations for years. Neither exists anymore - and it's questionable whether they ever really did.

Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.

What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: PGA Tour LIV Golf daily picks Anthony Kim

Scroll to top