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By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange January 21, 2013 5:20 AM
When the surgery was performed, recovery time was estimated to be from nine to 12 months. The 27-year-old Kim was a rising star on the PGA Tour, despite reports that he partied hearty and was not serious about practice, before he tore a ligament in his left thumb and underwent surgery a few weeks after the Masters in 2010. After posting only two top-10 finishes in 26 outings in 2011, missing the cut 11 times, Kim struggled again last year because of tendinitis in the thumb, making the cut only twice in 10 outings. AK, as he is known, was running near his home in Dallas when he ruptured his left Achilles tendon. After leaving the University of Oklahoma following his junior year and turning pro, Kim tied for second in his first tournament, the Valero Texas Open, and then tied for 16th in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic before earning his playing card by tying for 13th in the PGA Tour Qualifying School that December. Kim, who had captured the 2001 California Interscholastic Federation's Southern Section championship as a sophomore at La Quinta High in 2001, had a successful rookie season on the PGA Tour, even though he did not win a tournament, earning $1.5 million. In 2008, he claimed his first victory at the Wachovia Championship and two months later captured the AT&T National title. Late in the year, he helped the United States reclaim the Ryder Cup at Valhalla, setting the tone for a big Sunday by the Americans with a rousing singles victory over Sergio Garcia in the first match of the day. Kim was drawing some comparisons to Tiger Woods when he captured the 2010 Shell Houston Open and tied for seventh in the Masters. Not much has gone right for him since. --The LPGA Tour announced a third new tournament as it unveiled its 2013 schedule, with the $1.8 million Reignwood Pine Valley LPGA Classic in Beijing kicking off the Asian Swing on the first week of October at Reignwood Pine Valley Golf Club. Additions announced earlier were the $1.3 million North Texas LPGA Shootout on April 25-28 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas, and the $1.3 million Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic on May 23-26 at the Ocean Club Golf Course at Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas. Each of the new tournaments is four-day, 72-hole, stroke-play event that will be aired by the LPGA Tour's international television partner networks, including the Golf Channel. Every North American tournament and 27 of the 28 Tour's stops on the 2013 schedule will be televised worldwide. "The performance, approachability and growing popularity of our players is the No. 1 factor in the LPGA's continued momentum, which has led to expanding coverage on Golf Channel, the growing slate of playing opportunities and our ever-increasing fan base," LPGA commissioner Michael Whan said. "We are excited to add the Bahamas, North Texas and Beijing as LPGA Tour stops, and we expect to have one more tournament to announce in the very near future." The LPGA Tour also added a fifth major, the Evian Championship in Evian-Les-Bains, France, which has been part of the schedule since 2000. The Ricoh Women's British Open will be played on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, for the second time on Aug. 1-4. Lorena Ochoa of Mexico claimed the title by four strokes the first time it was held at St. Andrews in 2007. The LPGA Tour season will open with the ISPS Handa Women's Australia Open at Royal Canberra in Yarralumla, Australia, from Feb. 14-17, and end with the CME Group Titleholders on a course yet to be announced in Naples, Fla., from Nov. 21-24. --There was conjecture that the European Tour might bring back Colin Montgomerie, who captained the Euros' winning Ryder Cup team in 2010 at Celtic Manor in Wales, in an effort to provide some star power after the United States team selected Tom Watson for the 2014 matches Gleneagles in Scotland. However, Monty was passed over in favor of Paul McGinley of Ireland after several players went to bat for the Irishman. Montgomerie claimed not to be slighted. "I'm not at all disappointed," said Montgomerie, who along with McGinley was part of the selection committee, although both left the room before the decision was made. "It would have been a dream come true, but it has not happened. I was very flattered even to be considered again. It meant a lot to me. The selection process was such that they appointed the best man for the job. "We all get behind Paul now and wish him well. I appointed him for the Seve Trophy and he did a very good job, as he did twice as a (Ryder Cup) vice-captain. He's a very good man-manager and very good at assessing people's strengths. I will be there to support and fly the flag for Europe." Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland was considered to be the favorite, but after he dropped out, Montgomerie and McGinley became the front-runners. Sandy Lyle of Scotland, Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and Paul Lawrie of Scotland also were in the conversation. However, when Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose favored McGinley, it apparently tipped the scales. All of those players are expected to be on the European team. "I felt like maybe that's something that the European team didn't need to do," Rose said of selecting some closer to Watson's stature as one of the all-time greats. "I felt like we had a pretty good thing going right now in the Ryder Cup and there was no need to counter the U.S. decision." McGinley, 46, had a 2-2-4 record in three Ryder Cup appearances as a player, all European victories, and he holed the winning putt for the Euros at the Belfry in 2002. McIlroy was most vocal in his endorsement of McGinley, who was a vice-captain to Montgomerie in 2010 and to Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain last year at Medinah, both European victories. "If Rory does not make the team, I think he has got a good chance of a pick now," McGinley quipped. "It's a humbling experience, and it's a week I'm really looking forward to. I knew I had the support of the players, not just Rory. "I'm obviously absolutely thrilled and delighted to have this honor." Watson, 63, is an eight-time major champion who claimed four of his five Open Championships in Scotland. He will captain the U.S. team for the second time, the other coming in 1993 at the Belfry, the last time the Americans won on European soil. In his four Ryder Cups as a player, Watson had a 10-4-1 record, and the U.S. was 3-0-1. However, the Euros have claimed seven of the past nine matches. --Geoff Ogilvy of Australia, the 2006 U.S. Open champion, has moved his family back to Arizona from California in an effort to get his career back on track. Ogilvy has won seven times in his PGA Tour career, but not since the season-opening 2010 Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He dropped to No. 51 in the World Golf Rankings at the end of last year, so he is not yet eligible for the Masters. He has three months to climb back into the top 50 by the week before the Masters and earn his eighth consecutive trip to Augusta National, where he tied for fourth two years ago. "It was a golf decision rather than a family decision, but I'm comfortable it will be the best result for us," said Ogilvy, who opened his season last week in the Humana Challenge. "I don't think there is a better place for doing what I do than Scottsdale (Ariz.), and especially Whisper Rock. "I love California and Del Mar, and that place isn't going anywhere, but I was worried I might look back in five or six years and think, what if we hadn't have moved, would I have played a little bit better?" Ogilvy, 35, finished in the top 10 only four times on the PGA Tour in 2011, ending up 79th in the FedEx Cup standings. The results got worse last year. The Aussie had only one top-10 finish, a tie for ninth in the U.S. Open, and wound up 68th in the FedEx Cup race. "I've been playing with and against tour players in competitive money games almost every day, and that's as close to match practice as you can get without playing in actual tournaments," Ogilvy said of his preseason preparation. "It certainly energizes you. "We are back in the same house, it still feels like home, and like I said, there aren't many better places to get ready to play and get sharp than Whisper Rock. ... The Masters is my No. 1 priority goal, for sure." Ogilvy got off to a solid but not spectacular start by tying for 27th in the Humana Challenge. --Lanny Wadkins is back in the broadcast booth as lead analyst for Champions Tour events on the Golf Channel. Wadkins, 63, made his season debut last week at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii. He will be the lead analyst for the 22 events on the Champions Tour that Golf Channel televises this season. Wadkins also will appear on news and instructional programs on the Golf Channel. "I'm excited to return to the broadcast booth and continue working with my friends at Golf Channel, talking about guys I played with and competed against for 40 years," Wadkins said. Wadkins was lead analyst for CBS Sports from 2002 to 2006 until being replaced by Nick Faldo. A fearless competitor during his years on the PGA Tour, he won 21 times on the circuit, including the 1977 PGA Championship at Pebble Beach. Wadkins was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009. "Lanny was one of the greatest golfers of his generation, and we are thrilled to have him as a member of our Golf Channel family," executive producer Molly Solomon said. "I have been a fan of Lanny's for many years, and we look forward to his return to television and hearing his familiar voice each week on the Champions Tour." Wadkins' only victory on the Champions Tour came in the 2000 ACE Group Classic.