No way. This can’t be real. Anyone who’s anyone who considers themselves a fan of golf will tell you that Anthony Kim is one of the biggest “what if?” stories in the game’s history. Kim exploded onto the scene as a three-time PGA Tour winner, an instant Ryder Cup legend and somebody who Tiger Woods publicly stated could win multiple major championships.
Rumors flew around about Kim’s chaotic life away from the course. Whether or not he did, in fact, party his face off the night before teeing it up doesn’t matter. AK quickly became larger than life, and larger than the massive belt buckle he rocked with those initials on it. Unfortunately, he stepped away at age 26 due to multiple injuries, and he had an insurance policy that’d give him a reported settlement of eight figures if he never played again.
Welp. Now that the world of professional golf is pure chaos thanks to LIV lobbing nine-figure offers to the biggest stars from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, it would appear Anthony Kim wants back in on the action, insurance policy settlement be damned!
Breaking: Anthony Kim is planning a comeback to pro golf.
(Yes, this is real.)
After a decade away, Kim is in talks with the PGA Tour and with LIV about his return.
He was 26 in his last pro event. He's 38 now — but thinks his game is ready.
“Sources familiar with LIV negotiations said that Saudi-financed league had not initially expressed much interest nor willingness to pay for Kim to join the league. But as word of Kim’s potential return spread, key figures including Dustin Johnson spoke out about Kim’s potential value. A call from LIV CEO Greg Norman directly to Kim followed and then negotiations began in earnest, including a one-year offer that would cover Kim’s insurance policy — again, in the area of $10 million — while allowing him to earn prize money and sponsor deals on top of that. A LIV spokesperson declined to comment.
“Should Kim sign with LIV, he may not actually join a team — at least not in the first year of his deal. While he’s been floated as a possibility to join Jon Rahm’s team, LIV is expected to play this year with 54-player fields consisting of 13 teams of four (52 players total) plus two ‘wild card’ spots reserved for individuals. Kim also seems unlikely to tee it up as early as next week’s debut in Mayakoba but could potentially play as a wild card going forward; LIV’s Miami event in early April was circled as one potential launching spot. The vision floated to Kim is that, should the first year go well, he could be signed to a team for 2025 or potentially launch his own.”
I haven’t been a big LIV guy from the jump, but it’s just part of the game now. The alliance between LIV and the PGA Tour is still being hashed out, which only complicates Kim’s comeback. Wherever he’s playing, though, I’m watching. This is just the most incredible news and a bright ray of light that everyone in golf can unite around amid such divisive discourse of late.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Ever. It was a pipe dream at best for those of us AK stans. He was like Sasquatch after a while. You’d see a candid photo of him in public somewhere, wondering what the hell is going through his mind these days. Wondering if he ever thought about what could’ve been as he sat on the sidelines for the vast majority of his golfing prime.
Highlights would occasionally pop up across social media on occasions like Kim’s birthday, or around the Ryder Cup. Then all of us would grieve the many missed opportunities AK could’ve had to slay Team Europe, just like he did in 2008 when he dusted Sergio Garcia 5 & 4 to set the tone in Sunday Singles.
Team USA has struggled badly in the international competition. No secret there. It’s impossible to quantify the morale boost, swagger and killer instinct Kim brought to that victorious American crew 14-ish years ago.
Back in his heyday, Kim had the most beautiful swing. It was extremely powerful and violently aggressive, yet somehow always under control. Had he polished up his short game and putter just a little more, there’s a chance he could’ve won multiple majors even before he retired. Kim finished tied for seventh in the 2008 Open Championship with ranks of 73rd in putting average, 81st in putts per green in regulation, and 57th in scrambling. To put that in perspective, only 83 players made the initial 36-hole cut, and only 50 remained in the field for the final round.
OK so maybe that’s a little bit obscure for your taste. A dubious “accomplishment.” Kim’s resume is riddled with such enigmas. For something even more electrifying, though, try this on for size. How about a record eleven birdies in a single round at The Masters? Yeah. Anthony Kim actually f*cking did that. Check it out: 2009, Round 2.
Pouring one out in honor of Anthony Kim's second round 65 in '09 with two bogies and a double to go with 11 birdies. pic.twitter.com/lXPeHZr60W
That was his first Masters. Kim wound up tying for 20th. That’s the type of talent we’re talking about here. Borderline generational. I say “borderline” because it just so happened that a fella by the name of Rory McIlroy was playing with Kim that day.
Rory at this year's Masters: "You know, I miss Anthony Kim. The Tour was a better place with him in it. He was exciting." pic.twitter.com/mW002CbIre
Of course the haters will say, “What if he’s not good anymore?” To that I say, who cares? It’s going to be entertaining as hell no matter what happens.
I was telling a friend of mine recently, upon watching some of the NFL playoffs, that as somebody who’s worked in sports for many years, I sometimes forget that way, way, way more often than not, what I actually want to happen doesn’t happen. Thus, I shouldn’t be disappointed when that sh*t sandwich outcome inevitably happens yet again. I get better about it every year. Still, there are always moments where I put that aside, get my hopes up, and get my soul crushed, though not as badly as before.
If this turns out to be a ruse or a stunt and Anthony Kim isn’t actually coming back, I may never recover as a golf fan. But as things appear to be now, this isn’t one of those times where things go south. We are, for all intents and purposes, IN THE MIDST OF ANTHONY KIM COMEBACK SZN BAY-BEEEEEEE!!!!!!! LET’S GOOOOOO!!!
PS, nice pseudo-scoop before the scoop by Colt Knost: