‘Did he shank that?!’: Anthony Kim hits stunning shot in first round back

anthony kim reacts to shank on 5th hole at LIV Golf Jeddah

Anthony Kim's first round back at LIV Golf started with misfortune.

Francois Nel/Getty Images

If you awoke before dawn on the East Coast Friday morning hoping to capture some entertainment from Anthony Kim’s return to professional golf, well, you didn’t leave disappointed.

After more than 12 years away from the spotlight, Kim made his triumphant return to the pro stage on Friday morning at LIV Jeddah, playing in his pro event since the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship. More than 4,000 days, three Presidential administrations and one Highly Contentious Golf Civil War separated Kim’s last performance from the one that came in Saudi Arabia on Friday morning, but he arrived at Royal Greens Golf and C.C. carrying much of the same swagger, sporting an (untucked) white-collared shirt and a pair of shorts.

Things started unremarkably for Kim at what was a LIV home game that began promptly at 3:15 a.m. ET. There were a few fairways hit, a few putts rolled and the general sense of a player shaking the unease of more than a decade’s worth of rust. But then came the 5th hole, a par-4, and suddenly Kim had elevated his return from interesting to eye-opening.

And what happened on No. 5 for AK? Well, only one of the coldest shanks in LIV’s short history.

Standing 128 yards out from his second shot in the first cut, Kim faced a relatively benign shot into a pin tucked on the right side of the green. As Kim and LIV on-course reporter Dom Boulet surveyed the shot, the latter put it bluntly: Kim was in jail.

“Let’s see how Anthony Kim’s golfing brain is working,” Boulet said. “There is no chance — he’s got a downhill lie in the rough — that he can go for this pin. He needs to run it up the front edge of the left side and …”

Just as those last words left Boulet’s mouth, the ear-drum-shattering noise of ball-on-hosel erupted through LIV’s live microphones. Kim, who had just given his ball a mighty lash, dropped the head of his club over his shoulder like a wilted Violet.

“Oh … did he shank that?!” Boulet asked incredulously.

Kim responded with only a look, but a look was all one needed to know that something had gone horribly wrong. His ball was traveling perpendicular to his target line and headed for an area some 60 yards right of its intended destination.

“He did,” David Feherty responded. “I said shanky, just before that.”

Quickly, video of Kim’s shank spread through the corners of the golf internet depraved enough to be awake for the pre-dawn festivities (this author included). He would get up and down from the greenside rough for a mostly harmless bogey, but not before his long-anticipated return had provided its first viral moment — and not the kind he was hoping for.

Things would not get much better for AK after the 5th. He carded a seven-bogey, one-birdie 76 in his first round back in the pro game, finishing dead-last in the field of 54 and 14 strokes back of first-round leader Adrian Meronk. The good news, at least? Kim will be in the field come Sunday afternoon no matter what happens on Saturday thanks to LIV’s no-cut format, and the tournament’s guaranteed pay structure offers a handsome $50,000 for a last-place finish.

Not bad for a first week back.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.