11/04/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/04/2020 06:54
It's hard to believe it's been a decade since Anthony Kim's last PGA TOUR victory, at the 2010 Vivint Houston Open. And it goes without saying the fiery Californian's dynamic presence is sorely missed.
The talent, the swagger, the energy, and the passion were an inspiration, even to his U.S. teammates during the 2008 Ryder Cup and 2009 Presidents Cup. Kim last appeared on the PGA TOUR eight years ago, at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship.
No one really knows the state of his game these days, nor his plans for the future. All we have are the occasional videos and candid pictures on social media, some of which show him hitting a few balls or grabbing lunch in West Hollywood.
Imagine watching Kim in full flight against the Rorys, Rahms, and Koepkas of today's world, or even the new breed of challengers like Wolff and Morikawa. It's safe to say the whole golfing world wants Kim back, but until that day comes, we'll content ourselves with the remembrance of things past-in this case, Kim's gear from that win at the 2010 Vivint Houston Open.
Houston was his third win on the PGA TOUR. He was just 24 years old. He finished third in the following week's Masters, his best showing in a major.
Kim, who was a head-to-toe Nike athlete (before Nike left the hard goods business), had a one-shot lead going into the 72nd hole. Needing a par to win, he bogeyed the final hole to fall into a playoff against Vaughn Taylor, which Kim won with a par on the first playoff hole.
His bag was always pretty locked in, from irons down to wedges. He worked with then-Nike master craftsman Mike Taylor (now of Artisan Golf). Kim was very specific about turf interaction and ensuring that a left miss was all but impossible. The woods are a different story. Kim tried multiple setups during his career, going from a driver, low-lofted hybrid, 2-iron setup all the way to a driver, 3-wood, 5-wood setup. It wasn't until his third full year on TOUR that he finally found a 3-wood he liked.
WRX spoke with then-Nike Tour Technician Ben Giunta about Kim's gear. This is what he had to say
GolfWRX: Not sure if TrackMan was really a thing back then but what kind of numbers did Kim put up?
Giunta: So, this was kind of weird in an era where TrackMan is everywhere but I honestly don't recall using a Trackman with Kim. 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.
GolfWRX: Did Mike Taylor do anything special to his irons, or were they standard Nike blades?
Giunta: I'm sure Mike Taylor 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. Fifty-four and 59 degrees every time with some specific toe-heel grinding on the 59. He was an incredible wedge player.
GolfWRX: Anything special overall you did for his equipment that stands out?
Giunta: He 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. Kim wasn't much of a tech guy, didn't care much about what the product should do, just wanted it to work. One hundred percent feel.
Let's take a look at what he had in the bag for his win at Houston in 2010.
Driver: Nike VR Pro LTD (9.5 degrees @10)Shaft: UST AxivCore Tour Black 79 X3-wood: TaylorMade Burner TS (13 degrees)Shaft: UST AxivCore Tour Black 89 X5-wood: Nike Sasquatch Dyno (19 degrees)Shaft: UST AxivCore Tour Black 89 XIrons: Nike VR Pro MB (3-PW)Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400Wedges: Nike VR Pro 'MT Grind' (54, 59 degrees)Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400Putter: Scotty Cameron Studio Select Circle T Newport 2Grip: Scotty Cameron Pistol Red Full CordGrips: Golf Pride BCT 60RBall: Nike One Platinum