Remember Anthony Kim? Of course you do. Who could forget the brash, talented, rising star with all that swagger? One of the most intriguing questions in golf has been the whereabouts of the injury-plagued AK since he disappeared from the PGA Tour in 2012.
Well, Kim, who is now 30, spoke out for the first time Tuesday in over three years, giving an interview to the AP’s Doug Ferguson. The only thing for certain is that AK is still battling injuries and unsure if he’ll ever return to play professionally.
“Golf is a fond memory of mine,” Kim said Tuesday, his first interview in three years. “I’ve been watching more and more. I miss the competition a little bit. Watching these young guys like Jordan Spieth is bringing me back to watch.”
Is it enough to bring him back to play?
Not yet. Maybe not ever.
Kim detailed the list of injuries he’s still dealing with and receiving treatment for.
“Here’s what I’m telling you today,” he said. “I’m going to step away from the game for a little while and get my body pieced together. Instead of going from an Achilles injury to try to go 180 mph and not fixing the problem … I’ve got so much ground to make up from injuries – rotator cuff, labrum, spinal fusion, hand injury. I’ve had six or seven surgeries in the last three-and-a-half years.”
Kim hasn’t played a full round of golf in almost 18 months. Most of his days are spent dealing with physical therapy.
Currently, Kim is more focused on a business venture with Dallas-based Quality Metrics Partners, which was initiated with longtime friend and caddie Brodie Flanders and two others, including Mike Knall, a former punter for the Oklahoma Sooners. The company provides ancillary service management in the health care industry. Kim said he made a significant investment, which was returned in a few months.
While Kim was on Tour, there was lots of chatter of how he spent his money extravagantly — even irresponsibly — not to mention his late-night, wild partying ways. Kim, who earned just over $12 million in six seasons on Tour, claims he saved more than people realize and he won’t apologize for his lifestyle.
“If you don’t like the way I live, change the channel. You’re the one who tuned in here,” Kim said. “A lot of the golf public may not appreciate the way I live, which is by my own rules. But I give everyone respect. I’m not rude to anyone. And I treat everyone the same.”
Kim receives monthly payments from an insurance policy he took out five years ago in case of injury. However, he denied a report in Sports Illustrated last year that implied the policy was keeping him from returning to the Tour.
“I paid well into the mid-six figures for the policy,” he said. “They wouldn’t have paid me every month had I not been to the doctors, showing them all my X-rays, doing all the treatment, the acupuncture, twice a day for physical therapy.”
Kim still has a major medical exemption he can use if he ever returns to compete on the PGA Tour. He would have to earn $613,500 in 16 events to keep his card. But he can’t say for sure if that time will ever come.
He described his health as a ”6” on a scale of 1 to 10 and said he was coping with thoracic outlet syndrome. He also said he was in the process of moving, hiring a trainer and getting back to full health with hopes of giving golf one last chance.
”What Spieth and (Jason) Day did this year was ridiculous,” he said. ”I’m not going to compete with those boys unless I’m healthy. I’m not playing with 11 clubs. My goal right now for the next year is to get healthy. At this point, I’m happy where I’m at where I’m headed.”
Well, at least we got some answers from AK, but it doesn’t sound like we’ll be seeing any sightings of him at a PGA Tour event in the foreseeable future. When you’ve been gone for as long as he has, it probably seems daunting and perhaps even unfeasible to return to that level required to be competitive again — a bar that only has been raised by Spieth, Day, Rory McIlroy, among others, since Kim’s disappearance from the spotlight.