‘Obviously disappointed’: Anthony Kim breaks down his first round back

Anthony Kim tees off Friday at 2024 LIV Golf Jeddah tournament in Saudi Arabia

Anthony Kim tees off during his first round at LIV Golf Jeddah on Friday morning.

Francois Nel/Getty Images

Early Friday morning, in the wee hours for golfers in the U.S., Anthony Kim made his much-anticipated return to pro golf, teeing off in the first round of the LIV Golf Jeddah event in Saudi Arabia.

It was the culmination of a somewhat awkward reintroduction to public life for the 38-year-old former PGA Tour star, who disappeared from pro golf for nearly 12 years after struggling with injuries.

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Following weeks of reports, rumors and cryptic tweets, LIV only confirmed Kim’s return on Wednesday, and the rollout featured missing pro-am partners and Kim being mistaken for a fan by LIV’s best player and biggest acquisition to date, Jon Rahm.

But on Friday morning Kim finally took his first swings as a reborn pro golfer, striping a drive down the middle of the fairway on his opening hole and then shanking his approach. In the end, he signed for a 76 which, considering his lengthy absence, is far better than it could have been.

Following his round, Kim spoke to reporters and expressed mixed feelings about his first round back.

“Obviously disappointed with the score, but I played much better than the score,” Kim said on Friday. “I’ve got a lot to build on. Just made a lot of unforced errors and that was unfortunate, but I feel like I’m not that far away.”

Given his time off, it was hard to predict how Kim would fare so early on in his comeback, but as for himself, Kim had high expectations, admitting that he felt going into the day that he would shoot par at worst.

“I would be lying to say that I didn’t have certain expectations. At least even if I played bad, I thought I would shoot around par,” Kim revealed. “It was unfortunate that I made so many unforced errors from the middle of the fairway. That’s generally my strength is my iron game. To make so many unforced errors is really disappointing.”

As for his opening-tee experience, Kim described it as a “feeling I hadn’t felt before.”

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“I was very excited to go get it done. Fairway looked very narrow, so to be able to hit the fairway was nice,” Kim said, before reverting focus back to his mistakes, a consistent theme throughout his responses. “Got off to a good start, and then made an unforced error with my second shot. Just too many unforced errors.”

While he admitted his performance had put a “damper” on the excitement, he had mostly good things to say about the experience as a whole, and he intimated that he plans on hanging around LIV events for some time to come.

“As far as the experience that we’ve had and the people that are here helping us, it’s been amazing,” Kim said. “Never felt anything like it, and I’m so excited to be a part of this. Look forward to being a part of this for a long time.”

The second round of LIV Golf Jeddah gets underway with a shotgun start early Saturday morning.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham

Golf.com Editor

As managing producer for GOLF.com, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on GOLF.com, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep GOLF.com humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.