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The Loop

Ryder Cup exclusion motivates Kim to improve

September 11, 2010

LEMONT, Ill. - A disappointed Anthony Kim said Corey Pavin owes him no apology for bypassing him as a wild card selection for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Instead, he figures he owes it to himself to become an even better player going forward - and he says he's as motivated as ever to do just that.

Kim, who missed more than two months after undergoing left thumb surgery in May, finished ninth in the final U.S. Ryder Cup points standings. The top eight earned automatic berths. Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson bumped Kim and Lucas Glover at the PGA Championship, and then Pavin, the U.S. captain, on Tuesday selected Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink and Rickie Fowler to fill out the squad that will defend the cup next month at Celtic Manor in Southport, Wales.

"I was disappointed, but I was really not expecting to be picked because I have just not played well," Kim, who has missed four straight cuts after a T-76 in the no-cut Bridgestone Invitational since returning, said Saturday at the BMW Championship following a third-round 1-over 72 at Cog Hill. "Honestly, I really came back too early. I played the WGC without practicing one hole. I didn't expect too much out of myself. I had so many bad habits when I left the tour because of all the band-aids I had put on my swing. But I guess I expected to play better than I have.

"I figured once I got out there I would work into it a lot faster than what's happened," Kim added. "That was tough, and then the more I worked and pressed the more confidence I lost. It was a downward spiral, and it's only now starting to turn around. I feel I am progressing. And I'm playing without pain for the most part."

The sting of being left off the Ryder Cup squad - after a successful debut as part of the winning 2008 team - also has dissipated. When Kim underwent surgery, he was second on the U.S. points list thanks to a victory at the Shell Houston Open and third-place finish at the Masters. But that wasn't enough to preserve a slot among the top eight after his poor showings at Firestone CC and Whistling Straits in the PGA.

When he missed the cut in the first two playoff events, Kim figured he'd given Pavin no choice but to look at other options.

"He said he was sorry. But there was no reason to apologize. I didn't earn enough points, and I didn't play well enough when I got back," Kim said flatly. "It wasn't something he needed to apologize for."

Kim not only is taking the high road on his exclusion from the Ryder Cup, but he promises to use the occasion to try and take his game to a higher level.

"More and more I'm starting to believe that things happen for a reason," he said. "Even though I didn't get the job done, I'm not discouraged. I'm motivated to play. I'm feeling very motivated, probably more than I have in a long time. Hopefully I can kick-start my game again and do some good things from here. I feel like I'm kind of starting another phase of my career, and I've already had a couple of different ones. The things I did before the surgery, yeah, I won, but I really wasn't playing that well, and now I'm go and try to get better and turn things around and hit it the way I know I can. I've gotten stronger and healthier and I'm excited about what's ahead for me."

-- Dave Shedloski