Anthony Kim had a very blunt assessment of his first tournament in 12 years

Anthony Kim looks down the fairway at LIV Jeddah.

Anthony Kim finished 53rd at LIV Jeddah.

Francois Nel/Getty Images

Rust was understandable in Anthony Kim’s return to pro golf after an absence of nearly 12 years. Kim had another word for it.

“I’m more encouraged after playing this tournament and playing like a**, really,” Kim said after his final-round 74 at LIV Golf Jeddah, his best score of the week. “I’m very encouraged. I’m excited about what’s coming. My game is starting to shape up. I’m doing things that I used to do before.”

The four-over final round coupled with back-to-back 76s means a 53rd-place finish in the 53-player field (Matthew Wolff withdrew during round 2). He was 11 shots behind the next player in the field and 33 strokes behind winner Joaquin Niemann.

Dead last-place finishes weren’t what Kim had in mind when he decided to pick up his sticks again after a 12-year hiatus that saw him develop into a sort of mythical figure in the golf world.

However, his week was more indicative of a rusty player than anything. He hit a shank during his first round Friday. Opened his second round bogey-bogey-double bogey-bogey Saturday. Sunday he revealed he even forgot a ball marker in his bag and had to scramble back to his bag for one on his first hole.

“There’s a lot of things that I’m getting used to, and these changes are obviously unfamiliar to me, seeing as I haven’t played much golf over the last 12 and a half years,” Kim said after his round.

Wildcard player Anthony Kim smiles during the practice round before the start of LIV Golf Jeddah at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club
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However, Kim is heading to next week’s LIV Hong Kong event with a sense of optimism by his first competitive action since the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA Tour.

“I’m excited to be playing professional golf again,” Kim said. “I feel very blessed that I have this opportunity. I’ve got a lot to work on, but I had a lot of good things go my way this week. So I’m looking forward to building on that and being in contention at some point this year.

“I’m definitely hitting the ball well. I’m doing a lot of things well. I know the scores don’t reflect that. It’s disappointing to score that way.”

Kim doubled his birdie count for the week Sunday with two and even flashed some of his vintage flare with a recovery shot on his 17th told.

“I had a shot where I had to hit it in between the trees with a hook lie and out of the dirt, and I was able to hit a really solid shot out of there and really focus,” Kim said. “That’s something that I haven’t been able to do the first three days.”

It’s the leg kick at the end that reminds you of the swash-buckling, belt-buckled, 20-something-year-old who racked up three PGA Tour wins and set a Masters record with 11 birdies in one round.

Now 38 and more than a decade away from the game, that’s not the Kim we’re going to get every time out. But he likes to know he can still do it when he needs to.

“To be able to pull that shot off, even though it was one shot, it was great for my mind and gives me a lot of confidence going into next week,” he said.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at