If you’ve been wondering what happened to Anthony Kim over the last couple of years, you’re not alone.
The promising professional golfer – now 29 years old – was at the apex of an astounding career when he suddenly vanished from the world of professional golf in 2012, leaving a multitude of fans wondering what drove the young up-and-comer to leave the game that he played so well.
The Once Promising Golf Star
After qualifying for his PGA Tour card in 2007, Kim refused to take his time working his way up the leaderboard on the professional circuit, making the cut for top 100 golfers in the world to wrap up the 2007 season, only to move Team USA on to Ryder Cup glory at Valhalla in 2008.
With three PGA Tour victories and three appearances on national teams, including his unforgettable Ryder Cup appearance in 2008, it seemed like Anthony Kim was setting himself up for a rock-solid career as a twenty-something Tour pro that today’s golfing veterans – including his former mentor, Phil Mickelson – could pass the torch to.
So why hasn’t Anthony Kim and his handy Nike golf balls played on Tour since 2012? People are starting to talk, with word getting out through former colleagues and close friends that Kim’s reluctance to come back to professional golf may have everything to do with a hefty insurance policy that could net him between $10 and $20 million.
Not Just About Love of The Game
It would be easy for fans and spectators alike to assume that Anthony Kim’s departure from the world of professional golf was all about the money. That would also make for an unfair assumption into Kim’s character and competitive spirit. The truth is that AK has some serious health issues to consider, which could be making his hesitancy to take another professional swing even that much harder to cope with.
Playing through an injury to his left thumb at the 2010 Masters at Augusta, Kim underwent surgery to repair a partial tear in a ligament in his thumb that had been affecting his performance for months. After recovering from surgery and returning to play, Kim then developed a severe case of tendinitis in his left wrist – most likely due to compensating for his prior thumb injury on his swings with his favored Adams hybrid.
One injury snowballed into another, and by mid-2012 an injury to his Achilles tendon would be the final trick in a disappearing act that has perplexed the world of professional golf.
According to a friend of Kim’s, stepping back onto the Tour could cost AK a huge settlement from an insurance policy that was taken out specifically to address a career-ending injury: “The way he’s phrased it to me is, ‘If I take one swing on Tour, the policy is voided.’”
And with another source at IMG – Kim’s management agency – estimating that the total value of the insurance policy is close to a $10 million tax-free payout, Kim’s return to professional golf could be a multi-million dollar gamble that is simply too risky to take.
Risk Versus Reward
On one hand, Anthony Kim will earn between $10 to $20 million should his injuries be deemed career ending, qualifying him as a recipient of an enormous insurance policy payday.
On the other hand, Kim would be risking a lot by returning to professional golf, regardless of his love of the game. With career Tour earnings at $12.2 million – and an estimated $35 million in future earnings necessary to equal his insurance policy payout – sitting out professional golf for the rest of his life may very well be the injury-prone golfer’s smartest play.
Whether or not it’s the play that Anthony Kim truly wants to make, however, is anyone’s guess.