According to NewsOK, a round with Kim was auctioned off at the 12th annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic. There aren't any details on when the round will take place, but someone paid $24,500 to play with the three-time PGA Tour winner. Of course, that money will go to Keith's charity.
Kim, who hasn't played in a tour event in more than three years and who is reported to be sitting on an eight-figure disability settlement, was spotted at a Las Vegas nightclub in April. He turns 30 next month.
This is an extended version of a Q&A interview with TaylorMade's David Abeles that recently appeared in Golf Digest Stix. Abeles, 43, was named the CEO of TaylorMade Golf in March and gave us his first interview since taking the new job. Abeles brings more than 15 years experience in the golf industry with him to his new role, several of them coming working previously at TaylorMade.
Golf Digest Stix: It's your third stint with TaylorMade. How important is it to understand the culture of the company?
To be successful in this job, it's important not just to understand the culture of TaylorMade, but important to understand the culture of the industry and that of the golfer. I am an authentic, passionate golfer. There is a strategic side of things that encompass success in this role and then there is an intuitive side. If you look at the best leaders in the industry, they have had both. An intuitive sense of what the golfer wants is critical.
What is the perception of the company right now, both in the industry and with consumers?
When you're a company that bases its product strategy on innovation -- which is design and development to optimize performance -- there are things you do very well to excite consumers and there are times you do things quicker than most would appreciate or understand. And that's fair, that's definitely fair. But we're in a good place. We move forward and bring exciting products to market so consumers will get off the couch and buy them. We also have an obligation to work with our retail partners in managing some of the inventory challenges they face as a result of us bringing the products to market. We're cognizant of that. It's not a simple fix, but we have good ideas as to how we want to work with our customers. When you pursue innovation as a strategy -- and that is our strategy -- great things happen. But you take a lot of risk. We're very creative, we use technology to optimize performance and we use the world's best players to validate it. We're not perfect, I'm the first to admit that, but no company is.
What did you learn in your time that away from TaylorMade? (Abeles left in 2014 to become CEO of Competitor Group Inc., an operator of marathon and half-marathon races.)I learned that running and golf are different. Running is an inspiring sport to those who run. They run for health and wellness, for charity, for personal records. Golf is a very aspirational sport. When we see Dustin Johnson, Jason Day or Justin Rose hit a shot, we want to hit that shot -- and from time to time we actually do. So we aspire to that level. But the biggest learning for me was the interaction of brands and how it can elevate your business practices. One of the things we'll do at TaylorMade moving forward is build out an experiential platform. To engage golfers on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis so they can experience our brands and products in new ways.
Where do you see the growth categories for TaylorMade?
My first three hours back here I went down to the R&D room to see what we were working on for the future. I spent four hours with our engineers. We work on technologies that are three, four, five, even six years out. Technologies that we feel can define our brand and products and how golf is played. Some of the technologies we can't commercialize yet. The future is bright for our product lines. We'll see solid growth in the metal-wood business and iron business, and we will strengthen our leadership there. We're growing our golf-ball business. We have hundreds of tour players around the world in our ball.
What about Adams?
It's taken us a while to get it positioned the right way, but we think we have it right now. It's a very friendly brand to play. What's misunderstood is that it is still a performance brand. It takes a lot of R&D and technology to make an easy-to-hit golf club. And in some cases, our tour players benefit from that.
What is one thing individuals can do to grow the game?
It's incumbent upon all of us as golfers to grow the game. To reach out to people of all skill levels. They're friendships for life and they are experiences that grow the game. There's a responsibility for us to play with those who are less skilled. This will bring more golfers to the sport along with all the formal initiatives. There's a lot of energy surrounding golf now. We need to capitalize on that positive energy rather than the negative things people are saying about the sport.
How important is social media in promoting your brand?
Short answer: It's critically important. To give golfers around the world access to Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose, to actually interact with them. It's amazing. When you can interact with the world's best, it brings people in. It's wonderful for us as well. It plays a huge role in our marketing strategy and just in the industry in general. And it will be a major part of how we promote the game in the future.
When you got the new job and met with your staff, what was the first thing you told them "this is what we need to work on"?It's funny you ask that because I actually asked myself that question. What's important to us is that we continue to push downfield on great technologies and bringing great technologies to market. We want to build an environment for our people and create something where people want to be associated with our brands. Are we relentlessly innovating in everything we do? We want all golfers to feel about our company like our employees do and our athletes do. Our success will be contingent on that.
Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digest Stix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.
In any matter, we might have given Kobayashi a run for his money this weekend. It's a good thing hot dogs are so healthy. . . OK, so that's not true, but it was certainly a healthy weekend for golf. Let's get cooking.
Chris Kirk: Two weeks after a disappointing finish at the Players, Kirk finished off his fourth PGA Tour victory at Colonial with a clutch up-and-down on the final hole to avoid a four-man playoff. The 30-year-old University of Georgia product is now up to 17th in the Official World Golf Ranking. He's easily No. 1, though, among tour pros with two first names.
To the Colonial victor goes a plaid jacket and one of the biggest trophies in the world.
Colin Montgomerie: Monty couldn't win a major during his prime, but now he can't seem to lose one on the Champions Tour. With a four-shot win at a difficult Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Montgomerie repeated at the Senior PGA Championship and won his third major in his last six attempts as a senior. He is 0 for 71 at majors on the younger circuit.
Byeong Hun An: Six years after winning the U.S. Amateur, An finally claimed another big tournament, winning the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA, by six shots. In other words, maybe there's still hope for guys like Bubba Dickerson. The difference with An is he's still only 23. Do we need to add him into the "Era" conversation?
J.R. Smith: Unfortunately for the Cleveland Cavaliers guard, his team's success is keeping him from playing much golf these days. But on the bright side, Smith is playing the best basketball of his career. Smith made eight three-pointers in Cleveland's Game 1 win in the Eastern Conference Finals, but his mind remains on golf as evidenced by this tweet about divots. Hang in there, J.R. you'll be back to playing 36-a-day soon.
Kevin Na: In the past three months, Na has finished out of the top 20 once while racking up five top 10s. However, his play on Sundays has let him down. In contention, Na shot 72 at the Masters to fall to T-12, 71 at the Players to fall to T-6 and now a 72 (with preferred lies through the greens) at Colonial to fall from being the 54-hole leader to a T-10. He's on pace to have his best season ever, but oh, what could have been.
Sinkholes: These things are positively horrifying. In case you missed it, one opened up at the Top of the Rock Golf Course just a month after the Champions Tour was in town. The course is known for it's stunning practice range, but how could you not be scared of falling into one of these the next time you're there?
Francesco Molinari: After having at least a share of the lead at the BMW PGA after the first three days, Molinari shot a final-round 74 at Wentworth to drop into fifth. The Ryder Cupper hasn't won in more than three years. At least he still has bragging rights over brother Edoardo, who hasn't won since 2010.
Rory McIlroy: Just kidding! It's one bad week. He'll be OK.
The PGA Tour stays in Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson. This year happens to mark the 70th anniversary of Nelson's incredible 1945 campaign that consisted of 18 wins, including a mind-blowing 11 in a row. We'll probably hear about that a few times during the TV broadcast.
Random tournament fact: I found a golf ball with the event's course, TPC Las Colinas, while playing on Monday. Of course, this doesn't mean anything.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Someone will win 11 PGA Tour events in a row this year: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
-- Webb Simpson will be a captain's pick over Chris Kirk again this year: 10-to-1 odds
-- J.R. Smith would trade eight three-pointers in a game for eight birdies in a round: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Miguel Angel Jimenez celebrating after making his third(!) hole-in-one of the year to set a new European Tour career record with 10.
The 51-year-old also finished runner-up. Not surprisingly, he's perfected his celebratory dance:
One more look at Miguel's record-breaking hole in one last week. http://t.co/zaPDfIkFf2— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 25, 2015
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Bubba Watson goes in the dunk tank:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"You get the right distance, the right club, hit a good shot and that's the ingredients you need to make a hole in one." -- Miguel Angel Jimenez. Sounds easy enough.
THIS WEEK IN MODERN-DAY TOUR PROS BEING MODERN-DAY TOUR PROS
Billy Horschel challenged Brandt Snedeker to a bet on Twitter involving their alma maters' baseball teams. But when Snedeker proposed the stakes -- loser wears their rival school's colors at the U.S. Open -- Horschel couldn't because his U.S. Open outfits had been scripted six months in advance.
Florida wound up beating Vanderbilt making Horschel the winner of the bet. If Snedeker wears blue and orange at Chambers Bay, that's why.
THIS WEEK IN NATALIE GULBIS MAKING US FEEL BAD WITH HER TRAINING/TAKING SELFIES
Gulbis may have also just set the record for shortest shorts.
THIS WEEK IN
RICKIE FOWLER-ALEXIS RANDOCK KEEGAN BRADLEY-JILLIAN STACEY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Keegan and Jillian were in NYC for the wedding of one of Keegan's friends. We hope to see them at their own wedding some day. (What are you waiting for, Keegan?!)
THIS WEEK IN WILD HOLE-IN-ONE REACTIONS ON THE EUROPEAN TOUR (NON-MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ EDITION)
Not to be outdone by the Mechanic, Andrew Johnston, aka "Beef," made an ace of his own at the BMW PGA on Thursday. Beef reacted to his shot and winning a new sports car by pulling off an impressive running chest bump:
THIS AND THAT
Alabama's Emma Talley birdied the final hole to win the NCAA women's individual golf championship. She also won the 2013 U.S. Women's Amateur. If not for Lydia Ko, we'd probably be saying the LPGA is about to enter the Emma Era. . . . Peter Uihlein, the 2010 U.S. Amateur champ at Chambers Bay, will not be making a return trip there to this year's U.S. Open after failing to qualify. Too bad because he was one of the few potential players in the field with Mike Davis' recommended 10 practice rounds under his belt. . . . Congrats to Wake Forest men's golf coach Jerry Haas on finishing as low club pro at his first Senior PGA. Jerry, Jay's brother and Bill's uncle, put up with me for four years of covering the Deacs while I was in college. . . . Pictured are the cute farm boxes of golf balls on the range at Baltusrol. Yes, this is my cute way of telling you I got to play Baltusrol ahead of the 2016 PGA Championship. And yes, it was glorious.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Which pro would I most like to nail in the dunk tank?
Who has the best nickname in pro sports?
How can anyone prefer regular mustard to spicy brown mustard?
But not in the case of D'Angelo Russell, a first-team All-American at Ohio State and projected to go high in the NBA draft. Here he is, in an Instagram video, attempting to hit a golf ball, woefully so, especially for someone who went to the same university that Jack Nicklaus did:
You should buy Rory McIlroy's old house in Northern Ireland, because that would be a great conversation starter
In fact, McIlroy's old home, Robinhall House in County Down, Northern Ireland, is now for sale for $3.8 million. You should buy it, because that would be a handy ice breaker at cocktail parties.
Among Robinhall House's features:
-- Five bedrooms and five "reception rooms" over 7,200 square feet.
-- An eight-acre practice area and driving range, including several pot bunkers as seen here.
-- An all-weather tennis court in case you happen to be dating a top-ranked women's tennis player.
-- And a sweet entertainment room in case you break up with your top-ranked women's tennis player girlfriend, but you still want to keep tabs on her progress.
Some more photos here:
If nothing else, you should try to get a tour of the house, because I'd bet good money McIlroy left behind a wedge in one of the closets.
Below, Mark Crossfield in "The Waggle" on everything a tour player's house has to have.
h/t The Mirror
Finally, for some visuals to get you in the mood for Royal County Down, check out Ben Sargent’s two tours of a place we’re pretty sure you’ll never get tired of looking at.