Once thought to be the “next big thing” in the world of golf, Anthony Kim has done anything but live up to expectations. Kim looks to regain, or at least try and find, the lost magic this week at the sight of his first of three career wins on the PGA tour. That win came in 2008, when the Wells Fargo Championship was still known as the Wachovia Championship. He followed it up with another win in 2008 at the AT&T National. His last win on tour was in 2010 at the Shell Houston Open. Kim currently ranks a paltry 204th in FedEx Cup points in 2012 with 32, and has earned $33,960 thus far in the season.
Stories of Kim’s lackadaisical attitude towards his golf game are well known, as is his penchant for partying, even in the midst of tournaments. Anyone who has tried to golf after a long night out with friends, even at your local muni, can attest to the fact that it doesn’t make things any easier. Kim was trying to do that on some of the most difficult courses in the country and against the best competition in the world. At the same time, you can’t blame a guy in his mid-20’s who skyrocketed to stardom and became a millionaire for enjoying some of those spoils; he just has to know that there is a time and place for everything.
Kim has been quoted as saying that at one point last year, he went 6 months without a lesson and would often not even pick up a club during his off weeks. For those of you that argue that Bubba Watson has never taken a lesson, that doesn’t mean that Bubba does not work diligently to improve his game. The same cannot be said for Anthony Kim.
As with any professional athlete, injuries can quickly derail a budding career, and Kim has not been able to avoid them. Two years ago, he suffered a torn ligament in his left thumb, and struggled to overcome it for quite some time. He began to develop bad habits to overcompensate for the injury (perhaps due to lack of practice), and those bad habits became incredibly hard to break. At that point, he began to lose confidence, which is a death sentence for a professional golfer.
It seems as if Kim has begun taking his career more seriously and has dedicated more time to honing his craft. It seems that he has finally realized that talent can only take someone so far, and it is hard work and dedication that propels you to excellence. This may simply be because he has gotten older and has matured, or the realization might have hit him that he is in danger of losing his tour card if he doesn’t pick up his game. Either way, let’s hope that Kim can find a payoff from his renewed work ethic.
As the saying from the movie A Bronx Tale goes: “The worst thing in life is wasted talent”.