15/07/2024

Anthony Kim mysteriously disappeared from golf 12 years ago. Now LIV Golf has confirmed his return | CNN

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Anthony Kim mysteriously disappeared from golf 12 years ago. Now LIV Golf has confirmed his return | CNN

It’s been more than a decade since Anthony Kim teed up a ball at a professional event. Now, a tour that didn’t exist when he left has announced his return from golf’s wilderness.

It’s been more than a decade since Anthony Kim teed up a ball at a professional event. Now, a tour that didn’t exist when he left has announced his return from golf’s wilderness.

CNN  — 

It’s been more than a decade since Anthony Kim teed up a ball at a professional event. Now, a tour that didn’t exist when he left has announced his return from golf’s wilderness.

Kim is set to make his first pro start in 12 years at LIV Golf’s third event of the season in Saudi Arabia on Friday, arriving on the circuit as a wildcard, the organization confirmed on Tuesday.

“Following a retirement of nearly 12 years, the 38-year-old American will make his official return to professional competition this week at LIV Golf Jeddah, March 1-3 at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia,” LIV Golf said in a statement.

The tour also confirmed that Kim will compete in all remaining 2024 LIV Golf regular season events, competing points in the league’s individual standings in order to earn a team place in 2025.

“After stepping away from the game years ago due to injury, I’m happy to officially announce my return to the world of professional golf,” said Kim. “It’s been a long time coming, and I’m very grateful for all the highs, lows and lessons learned from the first part of my career.

“I want to compete with the best players in the world, and I’m on a mission to prove to myself that I can win again. The next step on that journey starts now, and I’m excited to give everything I’ve got this season on the LIV Golf League.”

Kim’s imminent return in Jeddah was first reported by NBC Sports’ Rex Hoggard on Saturday, who cited multiple sources that spoke under anonymity as they “were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.”

Prior to Kim’s official signing, LIV Golf posted a promotional video on X, formerly known as Twitter, Monday appearing to hint at his comeback. The video does not name Kim, but features shots of a silhouetted golfer overlaid with narration describing a “rebirth.”

LIV Golf commissioner Greg Norman later shared the footage, adding: “He oozes incredible talent.”

“The world has seen it in the past and now it is an honor as Commissioner of LIV Golf to give the opportunity for this star to be reborn,” Norman continued on X.

“Welcome back and to the LIV Golf family mate. The golf world has missed you.”

CNN has reached out to LIV Golf for comment.

Breakout star

Three-time PGA Tour winner Kim has not been seen at a pro tournament since withdrawing with an injury following the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship in May 2012.

The then-26-year-old had been plagued by injuries for much of the season, the latest of several since 2010, withdrawing from the two previous events.

He underwent surgery to repair his left Achilles tendon shortly after, a procedure expected to keep him out for up for nine to 12 months, but the years ticked by without any sign of the once-heralded breakout talent, who has made only sporadic appearances in the public eye since.

The Los Angeles-born University of Oklahoma star had wasted little time making headlines after turning professional in 2006, finishing in a share of second on his PGA Tour debut at the Valero Texas Open.

He delivered four-top 10 finishes during his rookie season the following year, before surging to a dominant five-shot victory at the 2008 Wachovia Championship to clinch his first PGA Tour title and rise to world No. 16.

Kim would peak at world No. 6 during a stellar campaign, with highlights including another victory at the Tiger Woods-hosted AT&T National and a starring role as the youngest member of a victorious Team USA at the Ryder Cup in Kentucky.

Kim wears a decorative belt buckle en route to victory at the 2008 AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

A thumb injury and subsequent surgery hampered his hopes of making the team for the return trip to Europe in 2010, but Kim had delivered more memorable moments before his injury problems proliferated.

His 11 birdies in a single round at the 2009 Masters remains a tournament record, while his 2010 Shell Houston Open win made him just the third player to win three times on the PGA Tour before the age of 25. His career earnings total over $12 million, according to the PGA Tour.

A jubilant Kim celebrates Team USA's 2008 Ryder Cup victory with fans.

LIV Golf, preparing for its third event of the 2024 after tournaments in Mexico and Las Vegas, expanded its format to include 54 golfers across 13 teams this season, with the addition of two wildcard picks – unassigned to a team – for each event.

The total prize purse for this week’s Jeddah leg sits at $25 million, with $4 million reserved for the individual winner.

The Saudi-backed circuit continues to work with the PGA Tour and DP World (European) Tour towards last year’s reconciliation agreement to end their long-running feud, with the initial deadline for a resolution extended from December.

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