GolfDifferent Strokes

Anthony Kim’s return is LIV’s latest attempt to boost ratings

Jake Knapp’s good fortune; Shane Lowry eyes progress at PGA National; numbers game; early starters; social media; rules; and kit

In LIV Golf’s latest drive to boost ratings and attract more viewers than pickleball in the US, the elusive Anthony Kim will return to professional golf in Jeddah this week, according to the Golf Channel. Kim, who was noted for his swashbuckling style and eye-catching belts, won three times on the PGA Tour, starred in the 2008 Ryder Cup and once hit 11 birdies in one round at Augusta.

He suffered a hand injury in 2012 and at 27 years old never played on the PGA Tour again. The American gained a cult following, a sort of Bobby Fischer-like figure of golf, completely disappearing off the golfing grid. It is believed Kim had an insurance policy that paid out $10 million in the case of a career-ending injury. Rumours are that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Saudi PIF have been willing to pay the equivalent of that insurance payout to get Kim on board if it means extra interest in their events.

The now-38-year-old Kim would be a wild-card participant at the LIV event and could still win individual prizes even though he is not on a team. After such a long absence, the level of Kim’s game is unknown and comes after a week where Bryson DeChambeau and Joaquin Niemann both complained again about LIV not getting world ranking points. It doesn’t help their argument to invite a player without ranking to an already invitational closed-shop tour. Still, it is another attention-grabbing coup for LIV when compared to a PGA Tour that Denis Walsh yesterday wrote of “too much sugar and not enough salt”.


“It’s hilarious to think two years ago I was working security at a bar and it was a much different scenario in my life.” — Mexican Open winner Jake Knapp went from working as a bouncer to being a PGA Tour winner and will play in this year’s Masters.

Shane Lowry looking for upturn in form at PGA National

There is a strong Irish showing at the Cognizant Classic this week in Florida on the PGA Tour, with Rory McIlroy, Pádraig Harrington and Shane Lowry in action at PGA National. The course has been generous to Irish players in the past with Harrington winning there twice, McIlroy once and also losing a playoff. Lowry finished second there in 2022, where a squall harshly hampered him on his final hole, denying him a realistic chance of birdie for a playoff.

It is also the scene of Lowry’s last top 10 in a PGA Tour event, this time last year. The Offaly native will be determined for another big week on a course he is comfortable with that tends to be more of a grind than a shoot-out. The final holes are called the “Bear Trap” due to their difficulty and water features prominently on each.

“I feel like I live here [Palm Beach], I like the course [and] I feel I can win around a course like this,” Lowry said last year. “I want to play here.”

Meanwhile, Leona Maguire will continue her tour of Asia at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore, while Tom McKibbin is in South Africa for the SDC Championship on the DP World Tour.

By the Numbers: 2

The number of fairways hit by Jake Knapp during his final round at the Mexican Open. His level-par round of 71 was still enough to beat Sami Valimaki by two strokes.

Early appearances not a guarantee of future success

Charlie Woods, the son of Tiger, tried to qualify for this week’s Cognizant Classic. Should he have made it, he would have been among the youngest players to appear at a PGA Tour event, having recently just turned 15 years old. The less said about his round of 86 the better, but the possibility did spark an interest in the youngest players to appear on the major tours.

That accolade goes to Don Dunkelberger at the 1937 Chicago Open, who played in the event at a scarcely believable 11 years old. It was a step too far for Dunkelberger, who withdrew after shooting 103 and not much is known of any golfing career to follow. The future achievements of the youngest players to play on tours are quite a mixed bag, which shows the precariousness of building a career.

Guan Tianlang, for example, made the cut at the Masters at only 14, yet now at 25 has had no pro career to speak of. The hit-and-miss nature is shown in an Irish case by Lisa and Leona Maguire, who both played in the Northern Ireland Ladies Open in 2007 aged 12, but as Leona stars on the LPGA Tour, Lisa has taken on a career outside of playing.

X/Twitter twaddle

Thank you @Ryanair for refusing to allow me bring the Spanish Open Trophy home with me after a great week in Seville! — Irish golfer Joe Lyons was forced to leave his Spanish Seniors Trophy behind.

70 today for 4 under T52. Most of my game improved during the week, especially my putting. So while not the best week, there’s a glimmer or hope. Still, the speed is off which puts me under a little bit of pressure and stress. — Pádraig Harrington on his week where he made the cut in Mexico.

Something a little different for me … Can’t wait to talk some golf from the booth the next couple of weeks @the_cognizant and Arnold Palmer Invitational — Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald to make his broadcasting debut for NBC in the US.

Know the rules

Q: On the putting green, a player addresses the ball with their club anchored directly against their body. However, during their backswing, the player removes the putter from the anchor point and continues with their stroke with the club no longer anchored. What is the ruling?

A: There is no penalty. The prohibition against anchoring in Rule 10.1b only applies while the player is making the stroke.

In the Bag: Jake Knapp — Mexican Open

Driver — Ping G425 LST

3-wood/Mini driver — TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver

Irons — Srixon ZU85 (2), PXG 0211 ST (4-PW)

Wedges — PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy II (52), Titleist Vokey Design (56), Wedgworks (60)

Putter — TaylorMade Spider Tour Double Bend

Ball — Titleist Pro V1 Left Dot