‘Incredible what he could do’: How good was Anthony Kim? These pros weigh in

For golf fans of a certain age, the news of Anthony Kim’s return is shocking. Twelve long years have passed since we last saw Kim tee it up in competition, and the pro golf landscape is basically unrecognizable from the one Kim left behind.

How Kim will fare in his return remains to be seen, but if there’s one thing the pros who played with him in his prime can agree on, it’s this: Kim was a singular talent.

Several guests on different episodes of GOLF’s Subpar podcast from over the years have spoken about their experiences with Kim.

Hunter Mahan, who played alongside Kim in both the 2008 Ryder Cup and 2009 Presidents Cup, had a glowing assessment of Kim’s game.

anthony kim reading a putt in 2012
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“It’s hard to tell people how good he was,” Mahan told co-hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz. “He’s really good, really, really talented. He had a really amazing blend of technique that was excellent. His swing was fantastic. Short game was great. Sort of a streaky putter, but his technique of ball striking was so good and he was so consistent, and he was never afraid of competition.

“He was super competitive when you got him on the golf course,” Mahan continued. “He really wanted to beat your brains in. Like he really enjoyed just beating you. There was sort of a Tiger thing with him. He was not afraid of competition from anybody.”

Brian Harman, the 2023 Open champion, was Kim’s teammate at the Walker Cup in 2005.

“AK is probably, I mean, if he’s not the best, he’s top three, like, most talented, just top-to-bottom golfer ever,” Harman said. “It’s incredible what he could do. I mean, he could hit it as far as anyone when he wanted to. His short game was just out of this world, and his iron shots, I mean, he choked down this far on the iron and just mashed it. Every one was right out of the barrel.”

Knost was also treated to an up-close-and-personal look at Kim’s game.

“Everyone asks, ‘Who’s the best player you ever played with?’ And I’m like, Anthony Kim, and they’re like, ‘What?’ Like, I’m not kidding you. Day in, day out, it was just a joke.”

Four-time PGA Tour winner Sean O’Hair said the game could have benefitted from Kim’s presence.

close up of anthony kim's blinged-out belt buckle
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“AK had swag man, like more than anybody,” he said. “I think he was one of those complicated cats that he had insane talent, insane talent. In my opinion, there was not a doubt he was going to be a Hall of Famer. And you know, I don’t know exactly what happened there. But it’s unfortunate that he’s not playing because I think golf would have benefited from Anthony Kim playing golf.”

Kim’s lore has lingered at his college alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, too.

According to recent Oklahoma alum Chris Gotterup, Kim’s legend is as pervasive as ever.

“He’s mythical to me, too,” Gotterup said. “Coach always talked about it. He would come up like, randomly, only when coach was there, he would come up like once a year when coach was there and they would hang out. But other than that you never saw him.”

While Gotterup was coy about sharing stories he’d heard about Kim, he did share some of his coach’s thoughts on Kim’s talent.

“He said even still to this day when he comes up and hits balls, it’s almost, like, sad because he’s still so good,” Gotterup said. “No one is able to see it.”

Fortunately for Gotterup — and golf fans everywhere — that’s about to change.

For more commentary on Kim’s game and career, check out the compilation video in its entirety above.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.