American young gun loading up for Bay Hill challenge
One of America’s rising stars, Anthony Kim, has been off to a slow start in 2009 while nursing a series of nagging injuries, including a shoulder strain that has prevented him from working on his game as much as he would like.
Kim figures one of the best ways to get back to the top of his game is to take on the Champions Course at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in the 31st Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. A two-time PGA Tour winner last year, Kim, age 23, joins a stellar field of highly-ranked players and former champions in Orlando in the final leg of the Florida Swing on the week of March 23-29.
“I haven’t been playing a lot of golf, so I’m a bit rusty, to be honest,” said Kim, ranked No. 12 on the Official World Golf Ranking. “I need to get some more rounds under my belt, but I’m finally healthy again, and I think I am coming around at just the right time. And I think Bay Hill is going to be a good place to test myself.”
Kim has never played the Bay Hill course designed by the host, but he’s heard plenty about the 7,157-yard, par-70 layout.
“I haven’t had the chance to play the golf course before so I’m looking forward to that,” said the native Californian. “I’ve obviously watched the tournament on television and know that Bay Hill is a course that has typically favored longer hitters, so hopefully I can put on a good show for the fans that week.
“I’m expecting it to be tough,” Kim added. “It’s plays pretty long and the rough is going to be thick, but like any golf tournament, you play well and you make some putts, you’re going to do just fine.”
Kim has done quite well for himself in a short amount of time. In addition to victories last year at the Wachovia (now Quail Hollow) Championship and the AT&T National, the youngster played an instrumental role in helping the U.S. Ryder Cup team defeat Europe at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.
In addition to a desire to get more golf in before he heads to Augusta for the Masters Tournament, Kim said he was motivated to see Bay Hill for himself, and, of course, to have a chance to visit with the host.
“Obviously, it means a lot to play in events like this. Arnold Palmer … everybody knows how he helped to change the game, helped it grow. He’d like me to play in his event, and I would love to be a part of it.
“Playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational is an honor that I have looked forward to for many years, and the chance to make my first appearance there next week will be a highlight of the season for me. Mr. Palmer is a legend in the game that we all owe so much to, and I hope that one day I can add my name to the list of champions at Bay Hill.”
For tickets or for more information, log on to the tournament web site, www.arnoldpalmerinvitational.com or call the Bay Hill ticket office at 407-876- 7774 or toll free at 1-866-764-4843. Tournament proceeds benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.