Anthony Kim, the ex-golf phenom who has become golf’s greatest mystery since vanishing from the PGA Tour in 2012, is mulling an impossible decision.
According to a new article by Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck, Kim has an insurance policy that covers him in the event of a career ending injury. The policy will pay him $US10 million tax-free if he never plays again, one source told Shipnuck. Kim’s friend told SI the policy was worth more than $US10 million, saying, “He’s trying to weigh the risk of coming back. The way he’s phrased it to me is, ‘If I take one swing on Tour, the policy is voided.'”
Kim hasn’t played since he torn his Achilles in the summer of 2012. Before that he dealt with an avalanche of injuries to his forearm, wrist, and thumb that derailed his career after a breakout season in 2008 — where he won two tournaments and earned $US4.6 million in prize money.
He withdrew from three-straight tournaments in April and May 2012, and hasn’t been heard from since.
Shipnuck calls him a “recluse.” He lives in Dallas, but no reporters have spoken to him. It’s unclear if he has played much golf. Fellow golfers have lost contact with him. He grew his hair so long that a golf course worker that Shipnuck talked to said he looks like “a hobo.”
Here’s how Shipnuck describes his current life:
“Another way of looking at it is that Kim is living the dream: retired at 29, without a care in the world. While his old rivals were grinding in recent weeks trying to make the Ryder Cup team, Kim headed to Belize on a whim. Those in a position to know say Kim is sound financially. He is still under contract with Nike, though company spokesperson Gretchen Wilhelm declined to discuss particulars. In April, Kim put his Xanadu in Dallas on the market for $US2.2 million and has been staying with a girlfriend while he assesses his next move. He tools around town in a Rolls-Royce Ghost. It had been flossed out with custom rims, but recently he reinstalled the stock wheels. “He wants to be more incognito,” his friend says, without irony. The standing Monday-night card game at a private residence atop the Ritz aside, Kim has increasingly become a recluse. A hostess at So & So’s, where Kim is known as an extravagant tipper, says he hasn’t been around since the spring. At his favourite strip club, Baby Dolls, the consensus was that Kim hadn’t been there in months, and that he was missed. ‘He always takes good care of the girls,’ says one waitress.”
Take the $US10 million and give up your life’s work? Or give up the $US10 million and try to be the best golfer in the world?
Kim is incredibly talented. In 2008, Mark O’Meara said Kim had a better swing at age 21 than Tiger Woods did. Shipnuck reports that Phil Mickelson ran into him in 2013 and thought his swing looked PGA Tour-ready. At age 29, there is plenty of time for him to carve out a career on Tour that will earn him much more than $US10 million.
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