From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Anthony Kim withdraws from The Players; is he shutting it down until the Ryder Cup?

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You wouldn’t have known it from CBS’s golf coverage of the final round at Quail Hollow, but there was another player playing with Rory McIlroy on Sunday.

Anthony Kim, who literally lurked in McIlroy’s shadow, watching the 20-year-old blitz the course from his front row seat, was a non-factor when the cameras caught a glimpse of him late in the day. Jim Nantz mentioned that the former winner of the event had looked increasingly frustrated throughout the day, probably due in large part to the severed tendon in his left thumb, an injury he’d been playing with for some time.

Kim’s thumb, along with Woods’ return to a non-major event, were the talk of the tournament early in the week. While his thumb was bothersome, Kim found a way to somehow jerry-rig it to win in Houston and finish in the top three at the Masters. A.K. wouldn’t admit it but his play during those couple of weeks was masterful. It was proof that the human body could withstand pain when something great was on the line.

But somewhere along the way between crazy and genius, the body usually hits a tipping point where the pain becomes too much to bear. And with a WD from The Players on Tuesday, Anthony Kim must now face his biggest decision of all, and that’s whether or not it’s the right time to shut his game down to have surgery on his nagging left thumb.

As Jim McCabe noted in his Golfweek.com article, Kim now faces the dilemma of figuring out the best possible time to have the procedure on his thumb.

The dilemma he is struggling with is simple: If he has surgery, he could be out for a stretch of time that might mean he misses a major championship. But Kim also said that the Ryder Cup (Oct. 1-3) is what he is targetting this season, so the sooner he takes care of the thumb, the better.

A release from IMG said Kim would consult with doctors this week to determine the best course for treatment. He has been in contact with Dr. Thomas Graham of Baltimore, one of the nation’s foremost hand specialists.

One would have to assume Kim’s close to making that decision, especially after he pulled out of one of the biggest events on tour. Assuming he has the surgery in the coming weeks, there’s a good chance his two- to three-month timetable for rehabbing the injured digit would allow him to be back around the time of the PGA Championship.

The only negative is that he’d miss the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and possibly the British Open at St. Andrews. However, the earlier he gets the procedure over with, the more time he’ll have to prepare for the Ryder Cup, an event he’s had circled on his calendar since the last one in 2008.

While it hasn’t been confirmed, I wouldn’t be shocked to hear a formal statement from Kim’s group in the coming weeks regarding his decision to have surgery. It just makes sense if he wants to be back and ready to roll for the Ryder Cup later in the year.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

05/04/2010 at 3:21 pm

One Response

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  1. […] Anthony Kim. After he decided to withdraw from The Players earlier this week, speculation began on this site and all over the golf blogosphere as to what Kim’s next move would […]


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