How Anthony Kim’s wife helped draw him out of hibernation

Anthony Kim and his wife emily during first round of LIV Jeddah

Anthony Kim and his wife, Emily, at the LIV Jeddah event on Friday.

LIV Golf

Things that are clear: Anthony Kim is back for at least 10 starts. He has long hair, a bag full of Titleist clubs and can still break 80. Things that are murky: What, exactly, has he been doing for the last dozen or so years, and what drove him back into the public eye?

In a video Kim’s new employer, LIV Golf, released earlier this week, Kim said he would tell his story “when it’s the right time.” That time, it appears, will not be this week in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where Kim is making his LIV debut; on Friday, he opened with a six-over 76.

But that’s not to say clues haven’t surfaced.

When LIV CEO Greg Norman, who was instrumental in Kim’s recruitment, joined the first-round broadcast from Jeddah, he began to peel back the layers on what, beyond just a handsome payday, has lured Kim out of the shadows and back to competition.

As Norman describes it, at the core of Kim’s revival has been his wife, Emily, and their two-year-old daughter, Bella, who have “reinvigorated” Kim and pulled him out of his “dark hole.” To what depths Kim sunk is unclear — colorful tales of his hard-charging lifestyle have followed him at least since his college days at Oklahoma — but presumably at least some of those details will be part of the story Kim intends to share.

More apparent is that Kim is embracing his roles as husband and father. Both Emily and Bella are on property in Jeddah this week. Emily, in a black LIV cap, followed her husband’s group in the first round, at one point encouraging him with a pat on the back. She and Bella also appear in a hype video that Kim posted to his newly-launched Instagram account. Earlier this week at Royal Greens, Kim wore a t-shirt emblazoned with “GIRL DAD.”

When LIV announcer Jerry Foltz spoke with Kim on the range this week, he said to Kim, “You’re a dad now.”

“Jerry, that’s all I am,” Kim said.

Foltz added on the broadcast, “He considers himself a dad before a golfer now.”  

Seemingly the same thing could be said about his husband status. Norman said Kim’s renewed passion for the game was ignited by Emily’s interest in learning how to play.

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“Emily said he’s a very, very good teacher, and she’s fallen in love with the game,” Norman said. “So they started playing two, three, four times a week together. So this journey has been a journey of two not one, and now it’s three because of Bella. So now all of a sudden AK will find himself in a better place.”

Norman added: “I was walking with Emily down the first hole, and I said, ‘What was it that really got him back?’ And she said, “It’s the game of golf.’”

“And I said, the game of golf is one thing and hitting the ball, right? It’s the emotion that lets him go, Oh, I’m good at this. Oh, golf is a safe haven. Golf is going to give me something else. What that is is the happiness he hasn’t had in the last 12 years until he met Emily.”

Kim’s Friday reentry into professional golf didn’t go as he would have liked. His first round included a top, a shank and seven bogeys. After signing for a 76, he said, “To make so many unforced errors is really disappointing.”

He’ll have two more rounds in Jeddah to shore up his game before the LIV train rolls on to Hong Kong next week. Kim’s first U.S. start will be in Miami the week before the Masters.

Just before Kim left the press scrum Friday, a reporter said to him, “Your daughter looks like she’s having a lot of fun.”

“My daughter is having the best time,” Kim said, “and that’s the most important thing.”

Alan Bastable Editor

As’s executive editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats — editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before grabbing the reins at, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and foursome of kids.