Thumbing his nose at surgery

Kim won't take break with eye on majors, Ryder Cup

April 29, 2010|By Jeff Shain, Tribune Newspapers

Anthony Kim knows he'll need surgery eventually to reattach a ligament in his left thumb. But, hey, why rush?

Especially with the way he has played of late.

In his last two outings, the Dallas pro captured the Houston Open and used a final-round 65 to place third at the Masters. Toss in a runner-up week at the Honda Classic, and Kim owns three top-3 finishes in four events since the PGA Tour left the West Coast.

"I need to take care of it when the time is right," said Kim, one of the favorites at this week's Quail Hollow Championship. "But I'm playing so well right now, I don't want to give that chance up."

Kim has been told surgery would require two months of rehabilitation, which at this juncture would take him out of one and possibly two majors. His other main goal is to make another Ryder Cup team. He played a key role in bringing the trophy back to the United States two years ago.

"In golf, there's not really a good time to take off," he said. "The better you play in the majors, the more points you get for the Ryder Cup (qualifying system). Like my parents have always said, you play good (and) everything takes care of itself."

Who's next?: For the last four years, the women's world rankings have found just two players holding the No. 1 spot — Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa. Now as Ochoa takes her farewell lap this week, there's a tight battle shaping up to become the next No. 1.

The rankings find just .04 separating Korean pro Jiyai Shin at No. 2 from Taiwan's Yani Tseng. Neither is playing Ochoa's finale this week at the Tres Marias Championship in Mexico.

That could leave the door open for No. 4 Suzann Pettersen, runner-up to Tseng at the first major, the April 1-4 Kraft Nabisco. The Norwegian pro is .30 behind Shin but could close the gap quickly with a good finish in Mexico.

Volcano fallout: Add Lee Westwood to the list of golfers adversely affected by the Icelandic volcano that grounded so many European flights.

The Englishman was set to take his family on a post-Masters vacation in Barbados, but Britain's airports were closed two days after he got home.

The award for pluck goes to Krystle Caithness, a Ladies European Tour pro who had to improvise to get from Scotland to Spain for the European Nations Cup. She made the two-day trip by train, ferry and car.

— Jeff Shain

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