Anthony Kim: Doctors told me I did not have much time left before golf return

Anthony Kim tees off during the LIV Golf Invitational - Hong Kong
Anthony Kim has returned to top-level action after 12 years in the wilderness - Getty Images/Yu Chun Christopher Wong

Anthony Kim, the former world No 6 who will on Friday play his first competitive round in the United States for 12 years, has revealed that doctors told him he did not have “much time left” unless he turned his life around.

After more than a decade spent in the wilderness – during which he became golf’s version of the mythical Yeti –  Kim finally re-emerged to sign for LIV last month and played two events in Asia on the Saudi-funded circuit.

The 38-year-old’s form was at first ridiculed until he shot a 65 in Hong Kong and the unlikely nature of the comeback was only emphasised in Kim’s first press conference since his return.

“When doctors are telling you that you may not have much time left, that’s a pretty rude awakening,” Kim said in Miami on Thursday. “I still think about it to this day when I’m out there and I get frustrated with my golf, you know, how far I’ve come. But yeah, I got to a point where I may not be here speaking to you guys.”

Kim has yet to reveal what exactly caused him to spiral to what he termed “my low point”, but in a video on the LIV website earlier this week he spoke of his “addictive personality” and how, as a young golfer, he was surrounded by “scam artists” and “snakes”.

‘I got professional help – I didn’t deal with a lot of trauma’

The former Ryder Cup player is set to divulge the details in a documentary that is still in progress.  “Although people don’t need to know the journey, I’m going to share it and the people that find inspiration and strength from it, I hope it can influence them in a positive way,” he said.

“I got professional help. I think that I didn’t deal with a lot of the trauma and whatever came from my life, and I buried it because I didn’t want to show anybody weakness, right. And I thought by showing vulnerability, that was weakness, and I’ve come to a point in my life where I don’t care if somebody thinks that about me or not.

“My [two-year-old] daughter is all I care about, and I know it almost sounds corny for me to say but as long as she’s proud of me, I’m a happy man.”

Kim, who has undergone multiple surgeries in his time away, did not begin playing again until a few months ago. He has refused to discuss the long talked-about insurance policy which apparently paid him somewhere between $10 million and $20 million when he quit through injury, but he has all but confirmed that it did indeed exist.

It is unknown how much it took for LIV to entice Kim back, but after these revelations, how he fares will inevitably draw more eyeballs. In a 54-man field also featuring Jon Rahm, the Spaniard who defends the Masters title next week, Kim will attempt to win his first title since 2010.

It is 14 years to the week when he prevailed at the Houston Open before finishing third in the Augusta major. “I feel blessed to be here,” Kim said at Doral.