Don't Call It A Comeback: Anthony Kim returns to Professional Golf after 12-year hiatus

Anthony Kim, the former PGA Tour star, made his long-awaited return to professional golf at the LIV Golf Jeddah event in Saudi Arabia after a 12-year hiatus due to injuries. Despite the hype surrounding his comeback, Kim's performance fell short as he finished both of his first and second rounds with a score of 76, leaving him in last place among all competitors.
Anthony Kim - LIV Golf Invitational - Jeddah
Anthony Kim - LIV Golf Invitational - Jeddah / Francois Nel/GettyImages

"Don't call it a comeback," LL Cool J famously crooned. Yet, on Friday morning, Anthony Kim, the once-deemed next Tiger Woods, played his first professional round since 2012. LIV Golf's Jeddah event in Saudi Arabia is the setting for the much-anticipated return to professional golf for Kim. However, the first round tally score left much to be desired.

Kim, who left the PGA Tour following an injury in 2012, finished his first round at Jeddah with a seven-bogey, one-birdie round of 76, 14 strokes behind leaders at the time, Jon Rahm and Adrian Meronk. Joaquin Niemann, Charl Schwartzel, and Bryson DeChambeau were one stroke off the lead at -7. While most LIV players are members of four-man teams, Kim is playing this season as a solo "wild card," with the possibility of joining a team somewhere down the line.

Kim spent most of Friday trying to find the once-electric game that garnered him so much attention over a decade ago. His return to the game was accompanied by plenty of LIV Golf dramatics, but with little storybook climax, at least on days 1 and 2 of the tournament. 

Following several reports, rumors, and cryptic tweets, LIV only confirmed Kim’s return on Wednesday, and the rollout featured Kim being mistaken for a fan by LIV’s best player and biggest acquisition to date, Jon Rahm.

But on Friday morning, Kim finally took his first swings as a reborn pro golfer, striping a drive down the middle of the fairway on his opening hole and then shanking his approach. In the end, he signed for a +6 which considering his lengthy absence, was maybe to be expected to some degree.

“Obviously disappointed with the score, but I played much better than the score,” Kim said on Friday. “I’ve got a lot to build on. Just made a lot of unforced errors and that was unfortunate, but I feel like I’m not that far away.”

“I would be lying to say that I didn’t have certain expectations. At least even if I played bad, I thought I would shoot around par,” Kim stated. “It was unfortunate that I made so many unforced errors from the middle of the fairway. That’s generally my strength is my iron game. To make so many unforced errors is really disappointing.”

While he admitted his performance was a potential buzzkill for the excitement, he had mostly good things to say about the LIV experience as a whole, and he intimated that he plans on hanging around LIV events for some time to come.

Next. Kim's ridiculous return to golf. Kim's ridiculous return reveals LIV's true colors. light

The golf world now eagerly awaits to see if Anthony Kim can recapture the form that once labeled him as the future of the sport.