LIV Golf’s Anthony Kim sheds light on his addiction, surgeries and life away from golf over the last 12 years

In the lead-up to his recent return to professional golf and public life, Anthony Kim avoided talking about the last 12 years of his life spent in privacy behind closed doors.

“I’ll tell my story when it’s the right time but right now I’m focused on golf,” Kim said before his debut at LIV Golf Jeddah, where he finished in last place.

A month later that time has (somewhat) come as the 38-year-old sat down with LIV’s David Feherty to talk about his path back to golf and a few of the admittedly self-inflicted challenges he’s faced over the last decade.

“Golf is important to me and not important to me at the same time,” Kim said at the beginning of the video. “I’ve had some very dark moments. I’ve had some very low moments. I felt very alone, even when there’s a million people around. I needed to get my mind on straight and figure out what my purpose was on this planet.”

Kim is saving the details for a documentary on his career that’s in the works and said he wasn’t able to talk about the insurance settlement he received but was adamant he didn’t just take the money and run when he injured his Achilles back in 2012.

“I’ve had multiple shoulder surgeries. Hand surgery, spinal fusion, but had a lot of injuries and a lot of surgeries,” said Kim. “I think I’m actually hitting the ball farther now than when I left the game. So maybe some of this metal is helping.”

The three-time PGA Tour winner from 2008-2010 said he did talk to the Tour about a return, but he wasn’t considering playing golf again until he got a call from LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman three months ago. When asked if Norman was the catalyst for his return, Kim slightly changed his answer and said his wife was the reason he started playing golf again because she wanted to learn the game.

“I have an interesting relationship with golf. I don’t think I ever loved it. What’s very weird to me right now is that I’m falling in love with the game,” Kim explained. “That’s such a weird spot for me, because golf was filled with pressure. Golf was filled with lots of different emotions for me. Because my family had to go through a lot to give me this opportunity to play golf, right. So with that added pressure, I was willing to risk a lot more. That was my nature. I was aggressive on the golf course I was aggressive off the golf course. And that led to my demise.”

The Oklahoma product knew he needed help for a long time but just kept it all to himself until he started turning his life around a year and a half ago. It’s no coincidence that his daughter, Bella, is 2 years old.  In fact, doctors had originally told Kim he wouldn’t be able to have a child given all the things his body had been through with his addiction.

Over the last 12 years, Kim thought he was having a great time but said he “literally doesn’t remember” any of those times. His addictive personality controlled his life and he admitted he was around bad people and “scam artists” who took advantage of him. According to Kim, he’s since shed 98 percent of those people from his circle.

The early results haven’t been great for Kim, which is to be expected when you take a 12-year break and battle the inner demons he’s faced. In two starts with LIV as a wildcard player for 2024, Kim has finished 53rd and 50th in the 54-player field events. That said, he thinks he can still play to the level he once did while on the PGA Tour.

“I believe I can absolutely do it at that level again. I’m prepared more than ever for success,” he explained. “I don’t think in my first career I was because I didn’t know what to expect. It was my mistakes that are the reason that I fell down into this deep hole. Having better people around this time around definitely helps.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek