Aug
5
2010
The Return of Anthony Kim, Round 1
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

In his first round of competitive golf in three months, Anthony Kim carded six bogeys and one birdie for a 75. Although only two players posted a higher score, it wasn’t really about the number. After undergoing thumb surgery on May 5, AK needs as many reps as he can get.

Before he took his leave, he emphasized the focus on making the US Ryder Cup team, which he’s helped lead to wins in the past two appearances. More important, he was playing really well. In his last three starts, he placed T7, 3 and won the Shell Houston Open in a playoff.

With Tiger Woods struggling (and might not even make the team) and Phil Mickelson playing inconsistently, a healthy and sharp AK is critical to the Americans having a chance against a loaded European team.

CBSSports.com’s Steve Elling reports:

“It was about getting back in the rhythm of it,” Kim said. “I was happy with how I thought out there. I made a lot of good decisions, made a couple of poor ones, and rushed a few shots that made it taste a little bit bitter. I didn’t have huge expectations.”

For good reason. Kim is still taking wobbly, baby Bambi steps toward his recovery and has hardly played a lick since he was green-lighted by his doctors to return. The rising American star hit a bucket of balls before playing eight holes Tuesday, then was so sore he only played nine holes the following day.

“I really had a hard time hitting balls on Wednesday,” he said.

But Elling continues that the good news is that most of AK’s misses were to the left, which will be easy to cure.

Despite the long break, AK has only dropped from second in the Ryder Cup standings to fifth. He’s also got time on his side to dust off the rust. Guaranteed three more rounds at the WGC, he’ll hopefully be playing a little more consistently for the PGA Championship next week. Better yet, he’s 10th in FedEx Cup point standings, so he has those exciting playoffs to brush up for the trip to Wales. Plenty of time to bounce back into golf shape for a 25-year-old.

“Just to have my thumb attached to my hand has been a plus,” he said.