I can’t believe it’s been almost eight years since Anthony Kim teed it up last. He left us to get Achilles surgery in the summer of 2012, and we haven’t seen him since. It’s been well speculated as to the why and how he decided to leave the game, but ultimately no one really has the answer but the man himself.
Frankly, I’m grateful for the time he did give us. He was electric, fun, precise, wild, cocky, humble, and everything else. For every story of AK out on the town doing things that 20-somethings do, there is another story of his prolific generosity and humility.
LISTEN TO THE GEAR DIVE w/ Anthony Kim’s long-time swing coach Adam Schriber for the story of AK changing someone’s life with a big tip.
In my opinion, if he were still playing and healthy, he would be in that BK, Rory convo constantly. Let’s face it, he played well until injuries started to creep in. It’s a fact. His health went sideways in 2010, and it was uphill climb until he decided to hang it up.
I wanted to dive a little deeper into his gear, so I went to the person that worked with him closest. Ex-Nike tour tech and now @thetourvan‘s Ben Giunta.
SEE BELOW FOR AK’s final bag specs before he hung ’em up.
Ben Giunta, who worked with AK for years, had to say in regards to AK and his equipment.
JW: Not sure if TrackMan was really a thing back then but what kind of numbers did AK put up?
BG: So this is kinda weird in an era where TM is everywhere but I honestly don’t recall using a TM with AK. In those days, we used the big grey Nike talking box and don’t remember any of his data. I bet he was a 175-178 mph ball speed guy.
JW: Early on, he was known to use a low-lofted hybrid to replace his 3-wood. What was the process like to finally get him in that club?
BG: He hated hitting the ball left, especially with his woods. His fairway woods were always flat and bent open with hot-melt towards the toe. The only exception was in 2011, I built him a hot drawing 3-wood for Augusta. It wasn’t necessarily difficult to get him into a 3-wood, you just had to make sure it never went left (laughter).
JW: Did Mike Taylor do anything special to his irons? Or were they standard Nike blades?
BG: I’m sure MT touched his irons a bit, as he did for every Nike athlete, but he was pretty much a stock blade guy out of the box. His wedges, on the other hand, were MT specials. 54 and 59 every time with some specific toe-heel grinding on the 59. He was an incredible wedge player.
JW: Anything special overall you did for his equipment that stands out?
BG: AK was an incredible ball striker but when he missed it was left. I felt like we were always messing with woods…always open, always flat. AK wasn’t much of a tech guy, didn’t care much about what the product should do, just wanted it to work. 100 percent feel.
JW: Any fun AK stories from your time with him?
BG: Lots of AK stories, met the kid in 2007 at Q-School. He had just turned pro and at that time was followed by a ton of hype. I remember checking in with him to make sure he was good equipment-wise and he was as cool as could be smoking 4-iron after 4-iron, and I thought to myself this kid is going to be unbelievable.
15 months later he’s the hottest thing since sliced bread but still down to earth, at least inside the ropes. I remember seeing him in early 2013 with Adam at the Yard House in Palm Desert but the last event we actually did work was Quail in 2012 when he last showed up at a tour event. He was always good to me, great ball striker and competitor.
Anthony Kim’s final specs
Driver: Nike VR Pro LTD 9.5 @10, +3 Open, 55 Lie, D4 w/ UST Attas RK Proto 7X tipped 1 3/4 @44.75.
3-wood: Nike VR Pro LTD 15 @15.5, +3 Open, 56 Lie, D4 w/ Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana Ahina 80X@43
5-wood: Nike VR Pro LTD 19 @17, +4 Open, 56 Lie, D4 1/2 w/ UST AxivCore Tour Red 89X @42
Irons: Nike VR Pro Split CB (3) NIKE VR Pro MB (4-P) w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400. All Irons at D3 and Std Length (38 inch 5 Iron, 35 3/4 PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro “MT Grind”: (54, 59) w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400, 54 @D4, 59@D 4 1/2
Lofts and lies per club
- 3: 20, 56 1/2
- 4: 23, 56 1/2
- 5: 27, 58 1/2
- 6: 30, 59 3/4
- 7: 34, 60 1/2
- 8: 38, 61
- 9: 42, 61 1/2
- PW: 46, 62
- SW: 54, 61 1/2
- LW: 59, 61 1/2
Putter: Switched between a Scotty Cameron “Button Back” Newport 2 and a Nike Method
Grips: Golf Pride BCT 60R Logo Down
When you look closely, you can see exactly what Ben was alluding to as far as the flatness of AK’s sticks. It was fun to dig into his bag a bit further but ultimately it’s bittersweet. I want AK to come back in a blaze of glory. He’s good for the game on every level. He’s a star, and I don’t think we ever saw exactly what he was capable of, just glancing blows.
Come back to work, pro. Right now!
Morning 9: Match 2: The most-watched golf telecast ever | Rory: Players don’t want fan-less Ryder Cup | Justin Thomas aces broadcast debut
1. 5.8 million average viewers for The Match
AP report…”Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.”
2. Shackelford’s take
A few observations from the scribe…“While still an overnight, it easily bests the previous week’s relief fund match that drew a 1.5 and total of 2.3 million viewers across three channels, including a 1.5 rating on NBC and a .24 on Golf Channel).”
“More incredibly, this means The Match 2 out-rated any major championship round on cable.”
“Given a so-so promotional run-up, a slow start to the show (caused in part by a slight weather delay) a dreary day to watch, and a long telecast, the rating is a stunning statement about the remaining star power of the contestants.”
3. JT’s TV debut
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”That said, whenever he decides to put down the clubs, he should immediately pick up a mic.
The former Alabama star made his broadcast debut as an on-course reporter on TNT/TBS alongside CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis on Sunday during The Match: Champions for Charity, which saw Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Thomas received rave reviews from golf Twitter during and after the event. He was brilliant. His rapport with Woods and Mickelson allowed them to open up on a different level compared to the original The Match in 2018.”
“Most importantly, Thomas didn’t overdo anything. Unlike some broadcasters, he knew fans weren’t watching for him and he never once tried to steal the spotlight. He didn’t speak just to talk. When he had something to say, it was insightful or funny. Like a golfer picking out which holes he can attack and score on, Thomas picked his spots on where to interject throughout the broadcast like someone who’s been doing it for years, let alone a day.”
4. Tiger looked terrific
Bob Harig writes…”For the first time in 98 days, we got to see Woods in action. And the last time we saw him, he didn’t look good. Woods shot 77 at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16 and finished last among those who made the cut at the Genesis Invitational. And he complained that his back was stiff”
5. Rory McIlroy: ‘Majority of players’ want 2020 Ryder Cup postponed until 2021
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”Rory McIlroy has a hunch about the Ryder Cup, and it’s one that golf fans around the world aren’t going to like.”
The DailyWRX: What’s buzzing on social media (5/25/2020)
Gotta say, The Match: Champions for Charity, was a fun escape from reality and further fueled the “we need golf back” fire. I dedicate this DailyWRX to The Match, thanks for thrills boys.
No matter how hard you try to make this a meme…
It’s Tom Brady. He wins….always, no matter what. He’s a Mount Rushmore guy.
This gave me goosebumps…
Its an exhibition match for charity, and I’m over here jacked up like its Balboa vs. Drago. SMH. I love TW.
To all of it.
Please just run for President and get it over with, you got my vote…..in perpetuity. I mean hellacious seeds? Yes I want hellacious seeds. Please.
Justin Rose, Honma officially part ways
Justin Rose and Honma Golf have officially severed ties, per a joint statement released Friday evening.
Former World No. 1 and current World No. 14, Rose (previously a TaylorMade staffer) made waves in the equipment industry when he signed on as a full-bag Honma staffer at the beginning of 2019. He made waves again in late February when he arrived at PGA National with a TaylorMade SIM driver in his bag.
The next week, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose swapped out his remaining Honma wares for a TaylorMade SIM Max fairway wood, a Cobra Speedzone Pro 5-wood, TaylorMade P730 irons, and TaylorMade and Titleist wedges.
Full text of the statement from Honma/Rose below
“Honma Golf Limited (“Honma”) announces that, following a successful partnership with the former No. 1 player in the world, Honma and Justin Rose have agreed that Justin will no longer be one of Honma’s brand ambassadors. We are proud to have been a key part of Justin’s journey to regain his position as World Number 1 in early 2019, including a win at the Farmers Insurance Open in his second event with Honma equipment in play.”
“For over a year, Justin worked closely with our team to help develop innovative and top performing lines of Honma woods and irons. His pursuit of perfection, approach to product testing and feedback has produced great value to Honma. Justin’s expert input and desire for maximum ball speed inspired our team to make the Honma TR20 460 and 440 drivers among the fastest drivers in the game. Consistently, and excitingly, our nationwide team of fitters are seeing the new TR20 460 and TR20 440 drivers produce some of the fastest speeds on the market. We wish him the very best in his pursuit of more majors and career success,” said John Kawaja, President Honma Golf North America.”
“I have enjoyed working with the Honma team and collaborating closely with them to design and develop excellent golf equipment. I was able to see firsthand the innovations that the craftsmen at Honma bring to their clubs. I am hopeful that during our time of partnership, we have laid the groundwork for Honma to continue to expand their brand. We both feel it is the right time to pursue our own paths,” said Justin Rose.”
Per Honma PR: “This will be the official statement and we are unable to provide any further comments”
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