By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Anthony Kim will miss the next 4-5 months with tendinitis in his left forearm and pain in his right elbow after hitting a rock while playing out of the rough in the opening round of last month’s Valero Texas Open.
He will undergo treatment and rehabilitation for the injuries and hopes to be back in time to play the Fall Series. Surgery is not expected to be needed.
“I’m obviously disappointed because I’ve been fighting to get my game back on the right track and having an injury hold me back is frustrating,” Kim said in a statement. “I’ve been through this process before, though, and know that you have to put in your work with treatments to get healthy. That will be my focus for the next four or five months so I’m in a position to return healthy towards the end of the year and be fully ready for 2013.”
Kim was examined by Dr. Thomas Graham of the Cleveland Clinic -- the same doctor who reconstructed his left thumb two years ago -- following his withdrawal from the Wells Fargo Championship.
This marks the second time in the last two years Kim will miss significant time due to injury.
A month after Kim’s victory at the 2010 Shell Houston Open, he underwent surgery on his left thumb after completely tearing the ligament and was out three months, costing him a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
It was a tough blow to Kim, who two years earlier was an integral part of a U.S. victory with a 2-1-1 record that included a 5 and 4 thumping of Sergio Garcia in singles play.
This time, the injury could cost Kim even more.
Kim has made only two cuts in 10 starts and earned just over $33,000 this season and is 215th on the money list and 208th in the FedExCup standings. His two-year exemption for winning in Houston expires at the end of this season -- though it is likely Kim will file for a medical exemption, which would guarantee his card into 2013.
"I don't want to play golf that way," Kim said earlier this year. "It's not fun, not playing to win."
Lately, he hasn’t played at all.
Kim withdrew from each of his last three starts and in February was disqualified from the Northern Trust Open for signing an incorrect scorecard (though he would have missed the cut anyway). His best finish this season was a tie for 42 nd at The Honda Classic.
Six years ago, Kim’s potential and career seemed limitless.
In his first start as a professional, he shot a final-round 65 to finish second at the 2006 Valero Texas Open.
Less than two years later, Kim won the Wells Fargo Championship by five shots for his first career victory, then captured the AT&T National later that summer to become the first American under 25 since Tiger Woods to win at least twice in the same season.
In 2009, Kim set a Masters record for the most birdies in a round with 11 on the second day. The following year, he won in Houston and nearly won the Masters, too, with a birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie run in the final round en route to a 65 and a third-place finish.
That’s when the injuries started to pile up.
Kim tried to play through his thumb injury in 2009 and also battled shoulder problems.
"The injury did make so many things go bad in my golf swing," Kim said in February.
In his first start back following the thumb operation, Kim finished near the bottom of the leaderboard at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, tying for 76 th. He missed his next four cuts, and his career has been mostly in a downward spiral since.
”There was the disappointment of not playing well and going home and not knowing what to do and just hanging out and wasting time,” Kim said in an interview with PGATOUR.COM during The Honda Classic. “That's not the type of person I am to just go home and waste time, and that's what I've been doing."
Since his last victory, Kim has 19 missed cuts in 42 starts. He’s also withdrawn four times and been disqualified twice.