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Looking back on a golf genius: Anthony Kim (with final full bag specs)

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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!

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Hoganben

    Apr 8, 2020 at 11:42 am

    What do you want the writers to write about?….Belerussian soccer is being played I think…we could read about their diets…vodka and borscht

  2. Joe

    Apr 5, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Genius, is really over used.

  3. MW

    Apr 3, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    Must be pretty desperate in the journalism department these days. How is this even an article?

  4. Kim Anthony

    Apr 2, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    The legend that never was

  5. the dude

    Apr 1, 2020 at 9:31 am

    How’d this guy get “genius” status……gimme a break..

  6. MajDuffer

    Mar 23, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    AK became consumed with the hype of famedom. He became a diva and spent time being a
    rock star versus practice and physical training to keep his body in top shape. The golf swing is very repetitive motion and as such puts tremendous stress on various parts of your body. Just ask TW, but his conditioning regimes allowed him to continue to
    play/rehab due to his physical conditioning. AK let himself down and thought his talent would overcome conditioning. Didn’t happen and then everything started changing and soon it was gone. Talent in golf will only take you so far, but hard work and conditioning will provide years of rewards.

    • Nack Jicklaus

      May 2, 2020 at 7:34 am

      This made me think of John Daly. I wonder how much more success he could have had if he had tried to get in good physical condition…Maybe a lot more, who knows?

  7. TomAce

    Mar 23, 2020 at 10:10 am

    AK AK AK, I mean I wish he kept playing but WRX been talking about his absence for years. Give it a rest. He couldn’t give one microgram of thought to any of you.

    • Scott Mack

      Mar 24, 2020 at 8:25 pm

      I wish AK health and happiness. Stay cool

  8. Stricks

    Mar 22, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    AK and that shinny diamond belt, smoked Sergio at Ryders.
    I remember seeing him early on at Harbortown, he seemed nice enough. A year later saw him at the bar in San Diego and he was cocky, rich, spoiled and treated people with disrespect.

    Glad he’s doing well with his $10 Mil, but don’t miss him on Sundays.

  9. jim

    Mar 22, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    golfwrx the home of the Golfwrx moderator douchbags

    • Scott G

      Mar 23, 2020 at 8:52 am

      Agreed/ You cannot post anything these guys disagree with or you will be blocked. Complete douche control … no chance of appeal.

  10. Alex

    Mar 22, 2020 at 12:29 am

    I think he either would have figured it out and stayed around and won a major off of talent alone much like Adam Scott or Sergio. Basically too much of a great ball striker with length that one week it would have been inevitable or…he would have flamed out due to lack of discipline. That’s where you have to hand it to Sergio. Lifelong dbag, but also lifelong grinder that never threw in the towel.

  11. Michael Joyce

    Mar 21, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    AK had a problem with drugs alcohol and women just like Tiger. Too much to soon two young to bad. No mun no fun your son
    Too bad so sad your dad.

  12. Sailfishchris

    Mar 21, 2020 at 11:06 am

    …..coulda……..woulda……..shoulda…….

  13. Bob Parsons

    Mar 20, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Isn’t he basically not playing because it would be insurance fraud?

    • SCOTT

      Mar 21, 2020 at 1:09 am

      That’s what I heard as well. Most people are not aware that he can’t be seen in public hitting a golf ball or he will lose $…..

      • 19_Majors

        Mar 21, 2020 at 2:01 pm

        It wouldn’t be insurance fraud, his policy would just be over. His policy is most likely one of being compensated for loss of income due to injury. If he can prove that he can golf again, then his insurance policy would be over since he could make money from golf again. So his only options are to either try to practice and get good enough for the PGA Tour again, or keep his sticks in the closet and pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars per year from insurance.

        • Mike

          Apr 5, 2020 at 6:38 pm

          Remember the “leave the gun, take the cannolis” line from Godfather? In this case, “leave the clubs (in the closet), cash the check”!

    • Mike

      Apr 5, 2020 at 6:35 pm

      BINGO!!! Thank you for putting it out there. He (or someone) was smart enough to buy that policy. He had, what, 2, maybe 3 good seasons 10+ YEARS AGO? WHO CARES ABOUT AK in 2020?????????? Let’s let this storyline fade into obscurity ASAP.

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Morning 9: Latest memo from Tour to players | Phil’s post-Match perspective | Greg Norman’s regrettable take

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1. Latest “bubble” memo
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard details the most recent communique from Tour to its players…“In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, tournament director Michael Tothe outlined many of the protocols that will be required when play resumes on June 11 at Colonial including the four Fort Worth, Texas, hotels that will create the foundation of the circuit’s “bubble” for the week.”
  • “The core of the PGA Tour’s plan to return was always about testing, but it’s a fine line to walk. In two weeks, at the Charles Schwab Challenge, we’ll find out if it will be enough.”
  • “Players are allowed to stay in individual RVs or rental homes but they are being encouraged to assure the health and safety of their accommodations if they choose to stay outside the bubble.”
  • “Players were also informed where COVID-19 testing will occur when they arrive in Fort Worth as well as meal options at Colonial, which will be limited to grab-and-go lunches in order to follow safety protocols.”
2. Little John finishes second at Crooked Stick 
Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star…Daly II made that same walk on Wednesday, up the 18th fairway for the final round of the inaugural Dye Junior Golf Invitational at Crooked Stick.”
  • “I think a lot of guys have re-watched the 1991 PGA tournament,” Daly II said. “I watched it every night before the tournament. (Watching him) walk down the 18th with all of the fans everywhere was pretty cool. He started as the ninth alternate and didn’t expect to play. For him to win, it was a ridiculous story. He loves it.”
  • “Daly II put together a remarkable tournament in his own right, finishing a three-way tie for second place behind winner John Marshall Butler of Louisville, Kentucky. Daly II was 4 over for the two-day, 54-hole event, which featured 33 of the top high school boys players in the country and 33 of the same on the girls’ side.”
3. Phil open to wearing mic
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Mickelson admitted that he didn’t expect the same level of banter during a typical Tour event with a seven-figure prize on the line, but he’d nonetheless be willing to broadcast his inside-the-ropes dialogue.”
  • “I would be open to the idea because of how it’s being received, and some of the insight and so forth,” Mickelson said. “But you don’t have the play between individuals. I had a partner, and Tom and I could talk back and forth. And maybe you could get some of that with the caddie, but having a partner is much more intimate and you have much better conversation.”
4. …wants annual Match
AP report…”Phil Mickelson, fresh off the success of Sunday’s charity golf exhibition with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, says he would like to see “The Match” become an annual event.”
  • “I think you could showcase guys like Steph Curry and Michael Jordan or Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, who are all good golfers, elite talents and have great personalities,” Mickelson told the Los Angeles Times in a column published Wednesday. “Those personalities are going to come out with this event. Or you could have someone who loves the game and is competitive but is really entertaining like Larry David and Bill Murray. I think that could shine.”
5. More audience info
Interesting stuff from Geoff Shackelford…“According to Showbuzzdaily.com, almost 1/3 of The Match 2’s audience was in the coveted 18-49 demo and the number was even better on on TruTV, also meaning there are people of any age group who know how to find TruTV”
  • “About 30% of The Match’s audience landed in the 18-49 demo despite the 44.5 average age of the participants…The numbers for TaylorMade Driving Relief with a foursome averaging 29.5 years”
  • “That’s 25% of the almighty buyers for a younger, supposedly more millennial-friendly group of golfers. And a grand total of (at least) 860,000 fewer viewers 18-49.  While not a huge difference in the percentage department, The Match did rout Driving Relief in overall audience and even took chipped away at NASCAR’s ratings.”

Full piece.

6. After a long layoff, how do the pros play?
Dylan Beirne, 15th Club for PGATour.com, examines the question…“As we might expect, there’s a clear relationship between performance and the number of weeks a player has been off. We can analyze how well players perform by comparing our estimate of their ability (how we would expect them to perform) to how they actually performed.”
  • “Generally, players taking small breaks of two weeks or less are marginally better than expected, while longer breaks result in an average drop in performance of between 0.1 and 0.2 strokes per round. For context, a drop of 0.2 strokes per round is about the gap between 100th- and 135th-ranked players in the world. It’s a significant change, but not enormous.”
  • “Additionally, the drop in performance after a 10-20 week gap is quite consistent across different levels of players. Top-50 players in the world are affected by a similar amount to those outside the top 50.”
7. A really bad take from Greg Norman
I mean, what else can you call it? A man who has a history of obtuseness and putting his fin in his mouth outdid himself with unfounded speculation about the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash in an interview with Michael Bamberger…“I asked Norman about the January helicopter crash in Los Angeles that killed all nine people aboard, Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, among them. I asked Norman if he had any insight, from his own experience as a helicopter pilot, and as an elite athlete who has flown often in helicopters as a passenger, into the tragedy.”
  • “Yes – yes,” he said. His voice was sober. “Probably pilot error and pressure from the back,” Norman said. Norman could imagine the legendary basketball player saying, “‘Get me through this; get me there. I’ve got to get my daughter to this game.’
  • …”My instructor and I had a saying, ‘If you can’t see through it don’t fly through it.’ If I was flying to Doral or Orlando or Naples and there was fog, we just put it down and waited it out.”
8. Sprint to the Cup
Ben Everill at PGATour.com…“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancellations and postponements of tournaments leaves just 11 eligible tournaments over a 10-week stretch for players to qualify for the Playoffs and a chance at the $15 million bonus that comes with the season-long FedExCup crown.”
  • “While the top 125 will not double as the cutoff for TOUR cards next season in this reduced schedule, it will remain the mark to get into THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first of three Playoffs events in the chase for the FedExCup.”
  • “Gone is the luxury of extended rest between starts for those sitting way back on the list, such as Koepka, who was just starting to find his feet again on a return from injury when the pandemic halted play in March.”

 

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Morning 9: Improving golf coverage | Oral history of TW’s “best shot” | Nichols: Charity matches were great…but why no women?

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1. Match-inspired innovations for improving golf coverage
Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan with a few thoughts…Mid-round interviews…There’s no really good reason beyond mild annoyance to the players that this couldn’t work, even in the current COVID-19 environment, provided that safe social distancing is practiced. In the major team sports, coaches are obliged to give interviews, and players will occasionally speak at halftime or between periods. There are no “coaches” in that same sense in golf, but the game happens at a slower pace, and a 60-second walking interview between holes is not too much to ask. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument that it’s overly disruptive, especially if planned in advance.”
  • …”Mic’d up players and caddies…In exhibitions past, we’ve witnessed players with live microphones, but the purpose behind it is dreaded “banter,” which typically comes across as hollow, forced and not very funny. But if players and caddies wore mics during a round, producers could find riveting audio that captures natural conversation or impromptu strategy sessions. Phil serving as a mentor for Tom Brady was riveting and hopefully stokes our appetite for similar mid-round insight…”
2. An oral history of Tiger’s “best shot” 
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…(This is just the introduction to a fantastic piece that talks to Bob Weeks of TSN and Steve Williams, among others!)…”Had it slipped between Tiger Woods’ 6-iron and golf ball, one rogue grain could have sunk his hopes of winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2000, becoming the first since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win golf’s Triple Crown – the U.S., British, and Canadian Opens in the same year.”
  • “So was it the ultra-fine margin? The stakes? The absurdly improbable physics of the shot itself?”
  • “Yes. Yes. And yes. All of these things compelled Scott Verplank, among others, to call it “the greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Woods’ 218-yard masterstroke from the wet sand at the par-5 18th at Glen Abbey. Woods’ caddie Steve Williams would return to the bunker once the commotion had died down, still struggling to get his head around what he’d seen. Others have made the same pilgrimage and tried to visualize what Woods had, tried to feel what Woods felt, for this was magic.”
3. Thrive? Struggle? Survive? 
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak contemplates what’s ahead for the golf industry…”These are strange times living through a global pandemic. Suddenly, golf courses are packed in a way the industry hasn’t experienced since Tiger Woods was revolutionizing the game in the late 1990s and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was predicting 50 million golfers by 2020.”
  • “Well, that didn’t happen, but golf has been given this new-found seal of approval highlighting its healthy aspects and its ability to provide safe recreation. As courses across the country re-open there is pent up demand among golfers to get out and play. Tee sheets are mostly filled and former golfers and those trying out the sport for the first time are emerging out of the woodwork desperate to be in the sunshine and doing something, anything that has been deemed “COVID OK.” There is renewed belief that golf can grab a bigger piece of the pie among recreational and entertainment options.”
4. Where were the women?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols wonders…How can there be downside to two Sundays of golf taking center stage and raising mega-money for COVID-19 relief?”
  • “Well, there is no a downside, but it could’ve been more. As LPGA player Mel Reid tweeted during the TaylorMade Driving Relief Challenge, the broadcasts could’ve represented all of golf.”
  • “They could’ve included women.”
  • “…It would’ve been great to see an LPGA player and her sponsorship partners get in on the action in a similar fashion.”
  • “The TaylorMade event could’ve been a mixed-team format. Maria Fassi and Paula Creamer are both in Florida. Some of TaylorMade’s female stars could’ve also called in during the broadcast as Jon Rahm did. Staffers who could’ve called in include Natalie Gulbis, Muni He and Charley Hull. Sung Hyun Park, who speaks limited English, was involved in a charity exhibition in South Korea with current No. 1 Jin Young Ko. Women’s golf frequently takes center stage in that part of the world.”
5. 80% of golf retail open
From the NGF Q…”The number of physical golf retail outlets that are back in business continues to increase – from off-course stores and specialty club-fitters to green grass pro shops.”
  • “Approximately 66% of golf course pro shops are open at facilities that are open to play, the equivalent of almost 9 million square feet, although some states and counties have limitations on the number of customers permitted at one time. That percentage is up from 36% at the start of the month, but is unchanged over the past week as pro shops in at least 10 states (including Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York) have government mandates that say they must remain closed inside to customers.”
  • “Meanwhile, approximately 79% of off-course golf retail stores were open (in terms of total square footage) through May 25. This is up from 73% last week and 59% two weeks ago. In early April, only about 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space was open to in-store traffic. Roughly 81% of all off-course retail stores are now open to customers.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (05/27/20): Adams, Mizuno, Ping

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Gator5 – Adams CMB Irons

Forged – check, Multi-Material construction – check, cool as all heck because these clubs are sweet and Adams made some really cool gear – check!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams CMB Irons

Member Ksears – Brand New Mizuno MP20 Irons

Did someone say brand new Mizunos??? What else could you really want from a forged blade beside being meticulously crafted and forged in Japan – as well as being priced lower than retail.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link hereMP 20 Irons

Member 1hellaofashot – Ping G410 7 Wood

Speaking from experience let me just say this “stop denying the inevitable and embrace the 7 Wood” It’s endlessly versatile, more forgiving than a hybrid, and because this one for sale is a Ping G410 it is adjustable. Here’s your chance to dial in your own par 5 killer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Ping 7 Wood

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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