Monday, July 07, 2008

Kim develops attitude to match game

When Anthony Kim won the Wachovia Championship here in May, it was deemed to be the first of many victories for the 23-year old.

No. 2 came Sunday at Tiger Woods' AT&T National at Congressional in Washington, adding to the growing sense that Kim may be the game's next big star.

Kim has an exceptional swing that appears sturdy enough to hold up under pressure. It's efficient and powerful, an ideal combination.

The difference, as Kim admitted at Quail Hollow in May, is in his attitude. He's still a hot-shot young player, but he has begun to grow into his talent. He has begun to understand how to play and, consequently, how to win.

That isn't limited to hitting good shots and holing putts. Kim has offered several anecdotes about the growing pains he's experienced in his short time on the PGA Tour and offered a telling story in the media room after his win in Washington on Sunday.

He was playing in the BMW Championship last fall during the FedEx Cup playoffs. Kim had been out late the night before and showed up 15 minutes before his tee time, just long enough to grab a breakfast burrito and slap a couple of putts before going to the first tee. While he was preparing to change into his golf shoes, Kim saw Woods, whose tee time was much later but who had already had an extended pre-round practice session. Woods won the tournament while Kim finished tied for 52nd.

"That was quite a low point for my career," Kim said Sunday. "I wasn't doing myself justice to act that way and prepare that way."

The change has been dramatic.

And we're just seeing the start of it.