Gregg Doyel may be laying it on a bit thickly, but he also may be right. Anthony Kim’s dismantling of Sergio Garcia may be the herald of a new superstar in golf.
We’ve been waiting for another one. Not for another Tiger Woods, exactly, because getting one Tiger Woods was miraculous enough. But we’ve been waiting for another one, another superstar, another American golfer with the moxie and the mental toughness to match his superstar skill.
And on Sunday, he arrived. Wearing a jewel-encrusted belt buckle. In the colors red, white and blue.
No ordinary Ryder Cup rookie, cocky young American Anthony Kim drew the enormous assignment of playing the first of Sunday’s 12 individual matches—and responded by destroying the best Ryder Cup player of this generation. Kim’s 5 and 4 demolition of Sergio Garcia gave the United States an enormous psychological lift and just enough of a scoreboard cushion to hold off Europe and bring home the Ryder Cup for the first time since 1999.
He’s good, but Hunter Mahan had 3.5 points in four matches to Kim’s 2.5. Still, as Doyel put it,
Kim is so cold, he refused Garcia’s request on the first hole to concede both putts. Garcia was farther away, maybe 3 feet to Kim’s 2½, and when he looked at both ball locations and raised his eyebrows, Kim shook his head. No, Sergio. You’re going to have to putt that one. Nothing comes easy today.
And nothing did. Kim poured it on like Georgia Tech against Cumberland College, hitting shot after shot near the pin and getting up-and-down from greenside bunkers. Kim was so confident, he made the most remarkable concession I’ve ever seen. It came on the fourth hole when Garcia ran a low pitch to within 3 feet of the hole. Pick it up, Kim said from the fairway, before running his own approach shot to within 4 feet and burying his putt to halve the hole.
Garcia was done. He dunked two shots in the water on No. 7. The crowd was hooting, and Kim asked them to be even louder. On the next hole Kim reached into Garcia’s chest cavity and removed his heart by getting up-and-down for par from a bunker as Garcia was missing a makable birdie putt.
That’s dominance of the sort that Tiger routinely imposes on his playing partners in the final round of Majors.