Saturday 10 December 2016

Pavin keeping close eye on comeback kid Kim ahead of wild card pick

Mark Garrod

Published 19/08/2010 | 05:00

Anthony Kim continues his return from thumb surgery this week knowing that American Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin is keeping a close eye on him.

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The Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, is Kim's third event back. He finished 76th out of 80 at the WGC - Bridgestone Invitational and missed the cut in the US PGA Championship.

Those two performances proved costly. Second on the Ryder Cup table when he decided to have an operation in May, he was fifth when he came back but was overtaken in the last two weeks by Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

As a result the 25-year-old, whose singles thrashing of Sergio Garcia in Kentucky two years ago was key to the United States' win, needs one of Pavin's four wild cards on September 7.

Providing he is able to show some form in the next three weeks he should get one, but Pavin said: "Absolutely it's a concern.

monitoring

"I spoke with him last week and he said it's getting better. It's certainly not 100pc, but he's going to be working hard and keep trying to get his thumb in good shape.

"I will be monitoring it closely. He's certainly on my list -- there are a lot of guys on it. I'll have to wait and see how he's responding."

None of the eight already certain of their places on Pavin's team play this week and nor does Tiger Woods, who will have been encouraged by Pavin's words about him on Monday.

Asked for the pros and cons of giving him a wild card, he said: "He's the number one player in the world -- that's a pretty good pro. He's playing better. I think we have all seen that he wants to play, he wants to be a part of the team. I don't think there are any cons."

Henrik Stenson is the highest-ranked of the European contingent at the event. The Swede has had a desperate time since contracting a chest virus after the British Open and has fared even worse than Kim in the last two weeks.

Now he finds himself 133rd on the FedEx Cup standings and needing to climb eight places to make the start of the play-off series next week.

A failure to do that would leave Stenson still having to play three more tournaments in the States to meet the minimum 15 required for membership.

Irish Independent

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