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MIAMI, Florida: Anthony Kim will tee-up on home soil for the first time in almost 12 years at LIV Golf’s Miami tournament on Friday saying he is a different person from the man who vanished from the sport.

The American was considered one of the brightest young stars in golf until injuries blighted his progress and then mystery surrounded him as the years went by and he never returned.

Kim, who was once ranked sixth in the world, won three-times on the PGA Tour between 2008 and 2010 and finished third at the Masters in 2010, as well as playing on the US Ryder Cup team.

Now, at the age of 38, Kim is back in professional golf having signed a deal with the Saudi-backed tour and played in their events in Jeddah and Hong Kong.

Those were his first appearances since withdrawing after round one at Quail Hollow, in May, 2012.

Kim underwent multiple surgeries on various parts of his body but says he then dealt with mental health and other issues, recently acknowledged he had been in a dark place telling a LIV interview that he had an “addictive personality.”

“I was thrown into a situation because I had some success in golf that gave me different opportunities than a normal 23- or 24-year-old, and I took advantage of that,” Kim told reporters on Thursday.

“Once you get going down that slippery slope, it’s hard to make your way back, and unfortunately, I just kept going downhill and somehow, I’ve made it through. I’m sitting here in front of you just feeling really honored and blessed to be here because there’s a lot of reasons I shouldn’t be here right now,” he said.

A future documentary is expected to detail more precisely the issues that Kim battled with during and after what he now calls his “first career.”

Kim says that after his injuries, which led to an insurance pay out, he made a clean break with golf, giving away all his equipment.

Such was the extent of his removal from golf that he paid little attention to the sport even on television and he has had to catch up with the events of recent years.

“I think I probably watched nine holes of golf when I wanted to fall asleep. But I didn’t watch much golf. I just found out from DJ (Dustin Johnson) yesterday playing a practice round with him that Brooks (Koepka) won back-to-back majors, which is awesome. But I had no clue that that happened,” he said.

Kim said he was able to get professional help but he needed to hear some home truths before taking that step.

“When doctors are telling you that you may not have much time left, that’s a pretty rude awakening. I still think about it to this day when I’m out there and I get frustrated with my golf,” he said.

Kim said he returned to a golf course initially to help his wife with her game but gradually began to feel an interest in the sport again before being approached less than three months ago by LIV’s Greg Norman.

“It’s such a cliché to say, but I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I’m hoping to help other people understand that life can throw a lot of shit at you, but you go through tough things and they make you tougher, and you can make it through,” he said.

Kim says that his wife Emily and his daughter Isabella, born in 2022, have been a major help to him.

“Fortunately, I’ve had some great support; the love from my daughter and my wife and my mom have been amazing, and they have helped me through some tough situations,” he said.

In his opening two tournaments, Kim was unable to challenge the leaders but he says he is adjusting well to the changes that have occurred in the sport in the decade he missed.

“I’ve gotten off to really poor starts. It’s just bad golf. It’s not anything that I feel like I need to worry about. Definitely the technology has changed. I’m hitting the ball further after seven surgeries than when I left.

“Obviously being 38 years old, things crack in your body that you didn’t even know should crack. I’m adjusting to all these things, but golf is the same. You put the ball in the hole and you add them up at the end.”