Golf

Kim proves he still has a lot to learn

Image: Golfer Anthony Kim (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Anthony Kim is showing he still has plenty of growing up to do.
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Robert Lusetich

After more than 20 years of covering everything from election campaigns to the Olympic Games, Robert Lusetich turned his focus to writing about his first love: golf. He is author of Unplayable: An Inside Account of Tiger's Most Tumultuous Season. Follow him on Twitter.

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Anthony Kim is a train wreck, as he’s proven yet again by pulling out of this week’s Las Vegas Open.

Everyone on the PGA Tour knows Kim’s an out-of-control party animal – or, as one multiple winner told me, “just a punk” – though only Robert Allenby has had the cajones to publicly call him out.

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The Australian, “pissed off” that he lost to Kim in singles at last year’s Presidents Cup in San Francisco, accused Kim of “coming in sideways at 4 a.m.” the morning of their match.

“He's the current John Daly,” Allenby said last October. “He is the loosest cannon on that team.”

Kim denied he’d been partying in San Francisco, telling us that he’d been in “tip-top shape." Within hours he was on the warpath, looking to confront Allenby but unable to find him.

Soon after making those comments in front of me and three other writers, Allenby was gotten to by the PGA Tour and issued a statement of apology. He even threw out that old chestnut about having his quotes taken out of context.

You know what that’s called? It’s called enabling.

The Tour might think it’s protecting one of its rising young stars but the truth is that by shielding him, Tim Finchem is only allowing the 25-year-old to continue self-destructing.

Bearing more guilt is IMG, Kim’s management company, which in return for its commission concocts shore stories to hide unpalatable truths.

The official reason that Kim pulled out of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open was that he aggravated a thumb injury.

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It’s true that Kim had to have surgery on the thumb in May, but why is it now a problem?

His preparation for the Las Vegas tournament seems to have consisted of gambling and partying since last Friday, so how did he injure his thumb?

Did he slip and fall on the $25,000 bottle of Dom Perignon champagne he rained onto the dance floor on Monday night?

At 3:02 Tuesday morning, Palms Casino's DJ Exodus tweeted: “Anthony Kim is an animal 115 bottles then to top it off a 25k bottle of Dom, which he showered the dance floor with ...”

That’s par for the course for Kim. Reports say he had to be told to tone it down by management at the Bellagio over the weekend after obnoxious behavior at the craps tables.

Last year Kim bragged about having a $66,000 alcohol bill comped in Sin City.

“How much would you have to lose at the tables if they’re comping all that booze?” an astute caddie who’s been around the block asked.

Valid question. And don’t think it was a coincidence that Corey Pavin, a devout born-again Christian, gave Kim little consideration for this year’s Ryder Cup team.

Even laid-back Fred Couples had trouble with Kim, who preferred hanging out with his ever-present "Entourage"-styled posse instead of spending time in the American team room at last year’s Presidents Cup.

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At the 2008 Ryder Cup, Kim was one of the best performers for the U.S., but off the course the story was different.

The wife of a well-known American player walked in on Kim with a woman other than his then-girlfriend, Lisa Pruett. Pruett arrived soon after and an ugly altercation ensued, causing red faces all around.

All of this may be viewed as appalling behavior by many, but I look at it like this: The truth is Kim’s broken no laws.

It’s his life and if he wants to piss it away with all that money Nike gave him last year, then so be it. He’s only really hurting himself.

But what I object to, in advance, is the inevitable in-depth profile that is bound to appear in some publication of note on the heels of this latest debacle claiming that Kim’s had another come-to-Jesus moment. That he’s suddenly re-dedicated himself to his game and has seen the error of his ways.

These fairytales have appeared throughout his career and I’m calling B.S. right now on the next one. So, please, IMG, spare us the heartfelt story of how AK’s grown up and come to see that he’s throwing away a very special talent.

Until he has.

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