Oh, Anthony Kim, what the hell happened to you?
You were supposed to lead us into the post-Tiger era. You were supposed to help golf take its next step forward on the coolness scale. (It's the rare golfer who admits to watching golf matches on TV in order to fall asleep.) You were supposed to be The Chosen One, if you'll allow us to get all Obi Wan-Anakin here.
You weren't supposed to fade into the field. Yes, yes, there was that thumb injury that took you out of the mix this year, but still ... all that hope we had for Kim back in late 2008 has been replaced by those most dreaded words: wait and see.
It's been the very definition of an up-and-down year for Kim. He won the Shell Houston Open, placed third (and had a fine charge) at Augusta, and finished second at the Honda Classic. But that thumb injury took him out of the U.S. and British Opens, and when he returned, he wasn't even close to the same player. He missed the cut in four of his six post-injury tournaments, and placed T48 and T76 in the others.
And the hits kept coming. He was denied the right to play on the European Tour next year because he hadn't played in 12 tournaments there this year. European Tour tournament committee chairman Thomas Bjorn sniffed that Kim "had made no effort to complete his 12 tournaments" since returning from injury. Worst of all, Kim wasn't named to the 2010 Ryder Cup squad, the very event he'd hastened his surgery to prepare for.
Would he have made a difference on the Ryder Cup team? It's not likely he would have played significantly better than Rickie Fowler, the guy who presumably replaced him. So we can leave that what-if on the shelf.
What's more important for Kim now is getting healthy and returning to his early-2010 form. The guy still has the potential to become one of the best golfers in the game, and that road back to the top begins this week in Las Vegas.
Of course, given Kim's reported love of the night life, perhaps that road will begin next week.