Anthony Kim missed a LOT during his absence. Dustin Johnson (!) caught him up

anthony kim and dustin johnson at liv golf events

When he returned to pro golf, Anthony Kim had to learn new rules and get caught up on major champions. Dustin Johnson was there to help.

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Who would have ever thought, a dozen years ago, two presidents earlier, when Scottie Scheffler was a high school sophomore and “The Avengers” was leading the box office, it would be the last time in basically forever we’d get a pre-tournament press conference from Anthony Kim?

At least until recently, when golf’s can’t-miss star of a decade ago resurfaced and returned to professional golf, but with the upstart LIV Golf league and not the PGA Tour.

Kim returned in late February and has played two events — finishing last and then 50th out of 54 — and, up until Thursday, had not yet given a formal pre-tournament press conference. He did sit down for a lengthy interview with David Feherty that aired earlier this week and has answered a few post-round questions his last two starts. But this? He has yet to do this.

Kim’s preparing for his first stateside start, a date with Trump National Doral that begins on Friday. He’s coming off a five-under 65 in the final round of his most recent start — by far his best outing of the year — so there’s optimism for this week. But honestly, he’s just happy to be given another shot at golf.

As for what we learned on Thursday? Lots. As mentioned above, plenty has changed since Kim last played professionally, especially in golf. That shoulder-length drop? Yeah, that doesn’t exist anymore. He found that out during his first tournament back, when a rules official corrected him and made him re-do it.

Oh, and he’s still picking up the new changes and new technology. As for who has been helping him along the way… Dustin Johnson.

“I actually learned a new rule today that you can take practice swings out of the hazard from DJ, and you can remove loose impediments from bunkers,” Kim said. “I know I should have done that in Saudi because I was in every bunker there was but I didn’t. So I’m learning as I go.”

And for how he’s dialing in his game…

“So I have used TrackMan now a few times. I’m not smart enough to know what all those numbers mean,” he said. “I want to know how far the ball carries and how far it ends up going. There’s like 16 or 13, something like that, numbers, that are on that screen, and I didn’t sign up to do math, you know, I just hit a ball into a hole. So those are really the only two numbers I’ve been looking at, and you know, whether it’s been one of the reps come out and help me with the TrackMan, or whether it’s been from LIV and where he does all the equipment, I’ve been learning a bit more about it and been using it. I don’t want to overcomplicate it. At the end of the day, you have to get the ball in the hole.”

Anthony Kim speaks to the media at LIV Golf Miami on Thursday at Trump National Doral.
Anthony Kim speaks to the media at LIV Golf Miami on Thursday at Trump National Doral. Getty Images

He might have missed a couple of important tournaments, too. Brooks Koepka, you may be aware, has won five major titles — two U.S. Opens and three PGA Championships. The Opens, as well as the first two PGAs, were back to back.

Kim had no idea. Again, DJ to the rescue.

“I think I probably watched nine holes of golf when I wanted to fall asleep, but I didn’t watch much golf,” Kim said. “I just found out from DJ yesterday playing a practice round that Brooks won back-to-back majors, which is awesome. But I had no clue that that happened.”

As for Tiger Woods’ epic 2019 Masters win…

“Where I was in my life, I really wasn’t focused on golf. I definitely heard that it happened but I mean, you know, going through some of the things I’ve gone through in my life, I wasn’t focused on golf,” Kim said. “I didn’t care about somebody who won a golf tournament. There’s so many other big issues going on in the world that golf is such a small part of it.”

But, as Kim mentioned on Thursday — and what will likely be elaborated on in his upcoming documentary — it’s been a long battle to get to where he is now, so it’s no surprise he missed so much. He was officially logged off.

And in fact, he said he started pulling away his final year on the PGA Tour. He was battling injuries and bad form and said he was making poor decisions on and off the course. He withdrew from the Wells Fargo Championship in 2012 after the first round.

“At the time of that event, my life was already kind of going downhill,” Kim said.

Kim had surgery on the achilles in his left leg in June 2012, but he never played again. In the video with Feherty earlier this week, Kim revealed he’s since had multiple shoulder surgeries, a hand surgery and spinal fusion. He also shared on Thursday he’s had seven total surgeries and broke his ankle nine months ago, which required wearing a cast for four months.

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“Once I realized after my surgery [in June 2012] that I was going to be, you know, possible that I don’t play again, I was completely okay with that,” Kim said. “I actually had a Saturday one weekend a few months after I got done playing, and I had probably three or four rooms full of golf stuff: hats, gloves, balls, shoes, clubs. I texted 100 people and I said, ‘Just come, whoever gets here fast on Saturday gets to keep it all.’ Let’s just say it looked like a garage sale.”

He said he wasn’t in a place to play golf, and he hardly played over the years, despite sightings or rumors of his comeback. What helped get him back into the game was actually his wife, Emily, who wanted to play nine holes four or five times a week. They even got her pink grips. She was interested in the game and Kim was her guide, teaching and caddying and handling the music selection. But it evolved from there.

“I just started to think that I could do this again,” he said.

The ankle injury was a setback — it happened a day after he played his first full 18 holes in forever — but about four or five months ago he received interest from LIV and the PGA Tour. He chose LIV.

He said on Thursday he owed a lot to his wife and mom but, mostly, his daughter, Isabella. Kim said she was delivered a few months early “and the fight that she went through was hard to watch. In that moment, I realized that I have to change my life and the things that I’m doing if I’m going to be able to support her, not financially, but emotionally and just be there for her.

“I’ve had some experiences that I wouldn’t wish on anybody,” he continued. “But through those experiences, I’ve learned what is important to me, and it doesn’t mean that it has to be important for anybody else but it’s important to me. Being a father is the greatest gift that I’ve ever received, and I’m not going to let her down.”

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at

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