Speculation is mounting that Anthony Kim could make a sensational return to professional golf when the LIV Golf Invitational Series launches in June.
Kim, now 36, was once one of the most exciting young players in the game, winning three times on the PGA Tour and playing a starring role in the USA’s 2008 Ryder Cup victory.
However, next month marks the tenth anniversary of his most recent appearance on tour. In June 2012, he had surgery on his Achilles tendon, a procedure that was expected to sideline him for nine to 12 months.
He was eligible to play on tour in 2013 on a major medical extension but didn’t feature. His known appearances in the last ten years, indeed, have been restricted to the occasional charity golf tournament.
It has been widely reported that Kim’s continued absence is as a result of accepting an eight-figure insurance payout in in the event of a career-ending injury.
However, could the Saudi-funded, Greg Norman-fronted LIV Golf Invitational Series offer the American a route back into the game?
The start-up circuit is set to stage its maiden event at The Centurion Club in St Albans in June, the first of eight events on its 2022, $255million schedule.
As yet, no players have confirmed their participation but it has been reported that all of the world’s top golfers have been approached, with many of them understood to have been offered eye-watering ‘signing on’ fees.
Bryson DeChambeau, for example, is said to be have been offered a $240million incentive to play.
In other words, the cash-rich tour presumably has more than enough money to cover the cost of reimbursing Kim’s claim.
That leaves two questions: does the tour want Kim, and does Kim want to make a comeback?
The latter is almost impossible to know. The Californian – once ranked as high as sixth on the world rankings – maintains a low profile and has no social media presence.
As for the former, bunkered.co.uk was told by a LIV Golf spokesperson that they “can’t confirm or deny” Kim has been spoken to about joining the new tour.
There is no question that convincing the 36-year-old to play would be a significant coup for the new tour.
As well as having been one of the game’s most talented and charismatic players, the fascination with Kim has grown – and continues to go – the longer he maintains both his mysterious absence and silence.
In terms of interest and eyeballs alone, his participation would be a huge needle-mover for golf and a massive statement by LIV Golf.
Time will tell.