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In 2007, Anthony Kim was 22 and was considered the next big thing on the PGA Tour – a young golfer with a better swing than Tiger Woods had at the same age.
In 2012, Kim shot a 74 in the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship, withdrew from the tournament, and walked away from the sport.
Kim hasn’t played on the Tour since – a career derailed by injuries. But while Kim hasn’t played a full round of golf in nearly 18 months, the now 30-year-old hasn’t given up on his golf dream and is hoping to get healthy enough to give the sport one more shot.
In his first interview in three years, Kim spoke to Doug Ferguson of the Golf Channel about why he walked away, what he is up to now, and his hopes to get back on the course.
Three years after walking away from the PGA Tour, Kim’s life is one of a broken body. According to Ferguson, physical therapy takes up most of Kim’s time. His Achilles tendon ruptured when he was preparing for the 2013 season and that was followed by a herniated disc.
“I’ve got so much ground to make up from injuries – rotator cuff, labrum, spinal fusion, hand injury,” Kim told Ferguson. “I’ve had six or seven surgeries in the last three-and-a-half years.”
Kim, who made $12.2 million in parts of seven seasons on the Tour that included three wins, now receives a monthly payment from an insurance policy he took out in case of injury. That policy will reportedly pay him $10 million tax free if he never plays professional golf again.
Kim denied the policy was influencing whether or not to return to competitive golf. In fact, it sounds like Kim is gearing up for a return to the PGA Tour.
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.
According to Ferguson, Kim has a medical exemption to the PGA Tour and can return whenever he wants. If he can earn $613,500 in 16 events, he can keep his Tour card.
“Golf is a fond memory of mine,” Kim said. ”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.”
Kim plays a sport where even the mid-level athletes can compete well into their 40s. That gives him the luxury of time, and the ability to take as long as he needs to get healthy. He has already been away three years and still needs at least one more, but he is hoping he is not done yet.