Golf fans (and Corey Pavin) rejoice with Anthony Kim's return

Face the facts; 2010 hasn't been the year of the American golfer.

A foreign golfer won the Players. And both World Golf Championship events. The U.S. Open and British Open were claimed from men not sporting the red, white and blue. An Englishman won the Memorial. A South African took the crown at Bay Hill. Hell, even Adam Scott won this season.

If it wasn't for Phil Mickelson's victory at the Masters, this year would be downright horrendous for the United States. If a non-American wins next week at the PGA Championship, it would be just the second time since 1994 that only one major championship went to an American, and that is all the more likely at the tough Whistling Straights. But good news is in the forecast.

Anthony Kim returns this week to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, his first event since early May, when he finished seventh at the Quail Hollow Championship. At the time, Kim was just about as hot a player as there was on tour, winning the Shell Houston Open and finishing third at the Masters, but the nagging thumb injury couldn't go unnoticed.

Kim had surgery, and has been out of the game for three months, but will be back this week as a tuneup for the PGA.

If there is one person that has to be excited about this, it's Corey Pavin, the captain of the diluted American Ryder Cup team, that, on paper, looks like a bunch of college all-stars going up against the European pros.

If points were finished today, the nine players that would be automatically included for captain Colin Montgomerie would include, from just this season: the U.S. Open champion, WGC-Accenture champion, two PGA Tour wins and five European Tour wins.

The American team, minus Kim, would have just four of eight winners in 2010, and a group that includes Jeff Overton, who has never won a professional event in his life. Needless to say, Kim is going to be very important to the Americans, and having him back and playing will be helpful to Pavin and the boys' chances at The Celtic Manor.

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