Tour veterans ‘can’t imagine’ returning after 12 years away, like Anthony Kim

Tour veterans ‘can’t imagine’ returning after 12 years away, like Anthony Kim
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SAN ANTONIO – There’s a detached curiosity that’s driven by a segment of the golf public that remembers a time when “AK” was a reason to pay attention.

Anthony Kim returned to professional golf this year on LIV Golf, following a 12-year exile from the game — and largely out of the spotlight, with only random photos of Kim leaving a coffee shop or hitting a wedge, occasionally surfacing.

Kim’s return has been predictably rocky, with a last-place finish at the LIV event in Saudi Arabia and a 50th-place finish (out of 54) in Hong Kong. But the bigger question has largely gone unanswered — where have you been?

In a 20-minute interview with David Feherty that aired on LIV Golf Plus this week, the 38-year-old spoke about his decision to leave the game and the difficulties he’s faced with various injuries and addiction.

While the public, at least the public of a certain age, has been anxiously awaiting details of Kim’s decade-plus hiatus, the three-time PGA Tour winner’s one-time contemporaries were just as curious about his return.

“I couldn’t even imagine it [returning to the game after 12 years],” Billy Horschel said at the Valero Texas Open. “It’s tough to be away for a year or two, but to be away for a decade-plus. To come back into the game with so many changes. Having to rewire yourself to play again, to reconnect to the game and your life is so much different now.”

In the interview with Feherty, Kim explained that it was largely injuries that kept him from returning to golf and the Tour, and that he was “around some bad people” since he left in 2012. He also said he’s had multiple surgeries over the years and that it wasn’t until LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman reached out to him three months ago that he started to seriously consider a comeback.

“I think it must be nice to be able to come back, honestly, but I can’t imagine from a competitive side how easy that would be,” Adam Scott said. “I see some guys who fall off the Tour or take a break for a year or two and it’s hard work coming back.

“As far as competing goes, I’m sure he’s got a bit of a road in front of him, but I was a contemporary of his and played plenty of golf with him. If he’s in a good spot coming back to play, I’m pleased that the game’s still there for him.”

Both Horschel and Scott said they planned to watch the interview with Kim as well as a documentary that’s currently being produced on the enigmatic star’s rise and fall.

“He was only a few years older than me and I always loved watching him play, he was so talented and how he approached the game. He was always attacking,” Horschel said. “He had that swagger that I love to watch people play with. I have a lot of respect for someone who is able to admit their faults.”

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