Cast your mind back to around 15 years ago, and a young man named Anthony Kim was taking the world of golf by storm. In fact, he was seen as the next big thing.
Having turned professional in 2006 at the tender age of 21, Kim went on to win three PGA Tour events, play a part in a winning Ryder Cup effort, and rise up the golfing rankings.
The future seemed very bright for Anthony Kim. But in 2012, everything stopped, and Kim hasn’t played a professional golf tournament since. Since then, sightings of Kim and have been few and far between.
It is as if Kim vanished off of the face of the earth. So what did happen to Kim, and where is he now? The story is a sad one, which appears to be due to Kim’s greed.
Kim was born in 1985, he is a Korean-American. He had an affinity for golf from a young age, and quickly forged a strong amateur career. Kim was part of the team that won the 2005 Walker Cup for Team America – which is the amateur version of the Ryder Cup.
By 2006, aged just 21, Kim turned professional. On his first appearance, Kim finished in a tie for 2nd, with his potential clear for all to see. By May of 2007, Kim had earned full membership of the PGA Tour, and was in the top 100 players in terms of world rankings.
In 2008, Kim had a stunning year. He claimed his first two PGA Tour victories, which came in the Wachovia Championship and the AT&T National. These victories meant Kim became the first American aged below 25 to win twice in one year on the PGA Tour since the great Tiger Woods.
Later in 2008, Kim qualified for the Ryder Cup – the most prestigious team event in all of golf. Kim performed brilliantly, and was an integral part of the team’s victory. In another national team event, Kim took part as team America won the Presidents Cup in 2009.
Kim won his third PGA Tour title in April 2010 at the Shell Houston Open. Aged just 25, it looked like Kim had a long and successful career ahead of him. Sadly though, that victory in 2010 would go on to be his final professional win.
Injury and disappearance
In mid-2010, Kim struggled with injury. It got to the point where Kim’s performance was starting to wane considerably. In 2012, he opted to have surgery on the Achilles tendon on his left leg. He was expected to miss 9-12 months of action.
But as the months went by, Kim didn’t reappear. There was a bizarre situation developing, as there was no sight of Kim, it was as if he had vanished off of the planet. The media continued to speculate when Kim would return.
As the months went by, the media eventually stopped reporting on Kim, and everything went quiet. Professionals were tight-lipped when asked about Kim, it was as if he didn’t exist.
In 2015, Kim broke his three-year silence in an interview with the Associated Press. In said interview, Kim refused to rule out a return to professional golf, but claimed that most of his time was spent doing physical therapy.
In the interview, Kim said he was going to “step away from the game for a little while” to get his “body pieced together”. He went on to say that “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.”
He also spoke of how golf was a “fond memory” for him. In recent years, the only sightings of Kim have come at charity events, but he has never played professionally since 2012.
The last sighting of Kim came in 2021, when Kim was pictured with Adam Schriber, who had coached Kim in his younger years. Other than this, Kim appears to be living a quiet life.
There has been significant speculation that Kim hasn’t actually been injured, and is instead making millions of dollars due to an insurance policy he took out in 2010 in case he became injured. If he returned to golf, the policy would be voided.
He has been receiving monthly payments for years as part of the insurance policy, which analysts suggest could be worth up to $20million for Kim. Due to this financial windfall, there seems to be no financial need for Kim to return to the sport.
This has led to many people arguing that Kim is being greedy, and that he would rather neglect golf and collect money, rather than work hard and play golf professionally. Due to the vast sums in golf, he’d probably make more than $20million anyway.
Kim claims that throughout 2010, that he paid “into the mid-six figures” for the policy, and that his payouts have been based on legitimate evidence from doctors that he is injured.
Kim has also engaged in some business dealings and ventures, and therefore does seem to be done with golf for good. It is an almighty shame, and we will never know what he would have achieved.
It appears as if Kim will never be returning to golf. It is a sad story of wasted potential. Only Kim knows whether he is truly injured, or if he has neglected golf as a means of earning an enormous payout.
We hope it is the former. It would be incredibly sad and disappointing if Kim had turned down a career that millions of people around the world would do anything for, so that he can have a pay-off.
Regardless of the truth in this case, it is sad to see a player of Kim’s quality no longer in golf. While he will always have a medical exemption should he return to the PGA Tour, this appears highly unlikely. All we can do is wonder what could have been.