Anthony Kim finished T25 at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai in his first appearance since his controversial withdrawal from the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open after reports of a wild night in Las Vegas. He told the Golf Channel's Andrew Both that his surgically repaired thumb is feeling better.
“This is the first week I’ve hit it well since I’ve been back,” Kim told GolfChannel.com after a 2-under-par 70 left him 13 strokes from the third-round lead at Sheshan on Saturday. “I’m starting to hit my driver as far as I used to, so I’m looking forward to future success. “I have another month of rehab to go but the doctor says I’m looking good. I feel I’m about 85-90 percent there.”
Kim also disputed reports that had him yelling at craps tables and spraying the dance floor with high-priced champagne at a nightclub during the week of the Tour's Las Vegas stop.
“I didn’t even feel like I needed to defend myself, they were so outrageous,” Kim said of the reports. “I can’t do anything about it now and they’re going to say what they want to say.”
Francesco Molinari says facing Tiger was good preparation for HSBC win
Francesco Molinari won the HSBC Champions in Shanghai by going head-to-head with World No. 1 Lee Westwood. Afterward Molinari said that playing former No. 1 Tiger Woods in singles at the Ryder Cup helped prepare him for facing down Westwood. (Woods beat Molinari 4 & 3).
It's been four fantastic days, and especially the last two playing head-to-head with Lee was really tough.
I think the experience of playing with Tiger in The Ryder Cup definitely helped me in the last couple of days, because when -- obviously they are different players, but when you are playing against the No. 1 in the world, it is not easy to always stick to the game plan and do your own game.
Sergio Garcia says he's re-energized after soccer sabbatical
He’s looking to reclaim his place in the game at the Australian Masters after a difficult 2010. Yup, Sergio Garcia has his work cut out for him. However, Garcia told the Australian media that his soccer-playing sabbatical this fall helped him regain his passion and energy for golf, according to The Australian Age newspaper.
''It was something that I needed to do, mainly because I'd just been playing so much, not only as a professional but before as an amateur, too,'' the 30-year-old said. ''I just felt like I needed a little bit of recharging the batteries.''
He feels like the experience has been positive. ''I've definitely thought about a lot of things, learned a lot about myself,'' he said. ''I always enjoy life away from golf. I love life with golf, but I think one of the reasons why I love golf is because I have so many things going on in my life outside of golf, and those things help me get back to golf stronger. I feel fortunate in that way. I have really enjoyed those two months.''
Garcia also made some headlines Down Under for pointing out the obvious, that Tiger Woods does not have the same aura he brought to this tournament last year.
''Maybe not as much,'' Garcia said yesterday, when asked if defending champion Tiger Woods was as fearsome a foe as he was a year ago, when No. 1 ranking and reputation were both intact.
Perhaps pointedly, Garcia dodged an invitation to anoint Woods as ''the man to beat'' this week, saying only ''he's one of them."
Allenby paired with Tiger at Aussie Masters instead of amateur
Australian golfer Robert Allenby thought it would be great if Tiger Woods was paired with the top Australian amateur at the Australian Masters in Melbourne this week, but instead Allenby got the Tiger draw, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
[Allenby said] at last week's WGC event in Shanghai that it would be a waste to give the opportunity to seasoned players like him who play with Woods quite often on the US PGA Tour.
"It would be an awesome thing for the No.1 amateur," Allenby said. "For Australian golf, that's what they need to do."
But the organizers -- IMG and PGA Tour of Australasia -- on Monday announced Allenby and experienced West Australian pro Brett Rumford would play with Woods in the opening two rounds at the Victoria course on Thursday and Friday.
Scottish pro thanks girlfriend for supporting him
In pro sports, the guys at the top are celebrated so much that it’s easy to forget about the hundreds of players in that next tier just struggling to get into the next tournament. Which is why it was nice to hear Scottish golfer Richie Ramsey thank his girlfriend after his third-place finish at the HSBC Champions got him into the Euro Tour’s Dubai World Championship later this month, according to The Scotsman.
The Scot sealed his place in the 60-man field after finishing third behind Italian Francesco Molinari and world No 1 Lee Westwood in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
He's delighted his hard work in recent weeks has paid off in securing his top target for the year and says the support of his American girlfriend, Angela Hudinski, has been invaluable.
"She has two jobs and works really hard but still finds the time to support my golf," said Ramsay after picking up a £232,000 prize. "Hopefully she'll be able to come to Dubai as a little treat and a thank-you for all of the support she's given me."
Stray Shots: Stuff we saw while wondering if John Daly is going to sue the creators of the HBO series Eastbound & Down for stealing his life story.
Australian fans who heckle Tiger Woods will be booted from the course after one warning. (Via The Australian Herald Sun)
The family of superagent and IMG founder Mark McCormick donated his archives to UMass-Amherst. The archives include letters to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. (Via The Boston Globe)
Rickie Fowler committed to play in the season-ending Children's Miracle Network Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Fowler is just one stroke behind in the $1 million Kodak Challenge, the Bizarro World FedEx Cup, which consists of a player's best cumulative score on 18 of the 30 holes throughout the year. The Kodak hole at Disney’s Magnolia Course is the par-4 No. 17. (Via PGATour.com)