Anthony Kim's Wife Inspired Comeback After 'Falling In Love With The Game Of Golf' - Greg Norman

Greg Norman says Anthony Kim's wife Emily was key to his return to golf, after trying to get him to sign for LIV Golf for two years

Anthony Kim
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Greg Norman had to wait two years to finally lure Anthony Kim back into the golfing spotlight, but it was Kim's wife Emily who played the major role in her husband teeing it up in the pro ranks again in LIV Golf.

It's been 12 long years since the mercurial Kim last played professional golf, and the return of the talented but mysterious now 38-year-old has been capturing the imagination.

As the American returned to action at LIV Golf Jeddah, Norman lifted the lid on just what brought him back to golf as he joined the broadcast team of the event.

"It really started a couple of years ago to be honest with you," Norman revealed. "We reached out to AK early on and it wasn’t the right time for him.

"But I wanted him to know that we had interest in re-igniting him and bringing his passion and belief in the game of golf back out.

"To get to the point where we’re at it was probably very emotional and passionate for me to be able to pull him back into the game because very few people know what it was like to be at the upper level like he was, he was an incredible player just before the end of my career. 

"I watched him and I saw this talent and then to see him fall into this dark hole and then about a year to clean himself up, get himself back, injuries whatever it is and to see where he is today and to walk with him and be with him in the last month-and-a-half, six weeks, to go through this process, he didn’t want an agent, he wanted to do it all himself, he wanted to speak to me, he wanted to speak to one other person. 

"He just wanted to deal with this thing because he has been reinvigorated in life through his wife Emily, through his daughter Bella, and it’s brought something back to him and I was walking with Emily down the 1st hole and I said “What was it that really got him back?” And she said it’s the game of golf. 

"I said the game of golf is one thing, hitting the ball right, but it’s the emotional that allows him to go ‘Ooh I’m good at this, golf is a safe haven, oh god golf is going to give me something else’. What that is the happiness that he hasn’t been in for the last 12 years until he met Emily."

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Norman says wife Emily was the key to Kim's return, and Jeddah is just the start of his road back to the big time.

"He had a mystique about him and he has a cult following," Norman added. "He has been reinvigorated in life through his wife Emily and his daughter Bella.

"Whatever happens today doesn’t really matter. I said to Emily on the 1st tee today, ‘the journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step, and that first step is his first swing today’ and there’ll be a process for him to go through. I’m just so happy for LIV, I’m happy for golf, I’m happy for AK and the family and his journey is going to be a fantastic thing.

"His interest back in the game of golf was created because Emily his wife wanted to learn how to play the game of golf. 

"So the two of them went out on the golf course, Emily said he’s a very, very good teacher and she’s fallen in love with the game so they started playing golf 2, 3, 4 times a week together. 

"So this journey has been a journey of two, not one. AK will find himself in a better place, not this first round it’s not the second round it’s not the second tournament, but you start looking when he starts feeling comfortable with himself, the oozing of the talent is going to start coming through."

Kim's return looks to have been a PR winner for LIV Golf given the interest he's generated, and that's already started to translate into ticket sales.

"Well our ticket sales in Hong Kong next week have started to sky rocket," Norman continued. "The interest out of Korea, we have some people coming down from Korea next week. 

"Obviously AK getting back to Korea, his mother still lives in Korea, so all of a sudden in a very short period of time we’ve stimulated new interest and is that great for LIV? 100% it’s great for LIV. 

"And even AK said he’s never been on social media and now in 24hrs, 36hrs it’s just like exploded on him. Welcome to the real world."

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.