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Anthony Kim in 2011

Photo: Steve Helber / AP

The Yeti is wearing sneakers, loose shorts, a white baggy shirt and a white baseball cap, his left arm has a large tattoo, and he still grips his club a little shorter as he hits one ball after another onto the lush green of the Royal golf range in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Greens Golf & Country Club threshing.

The “Yeti” is Anthony Kim, who has become a mystical figure in golf circles over the past decade.

Since June 2012, Kim has not played a golf tournament and has gone into hiding.

Every sighting was frantically reported.

“Sports Illustrated” therefore compared him to the Tibetan snowman, while others called him the “JD Salinger of golf” or the “Greta Garbo”.

Now the legendary man has reappeared.

First in an announcement video, then in the flesh on the practice facility, from Friday Kim will be playing in the LIV Tour golf tournament in Saudi Arabia.

The golf world is in turmoil because of this.

With Kim, a player returns who took the golf world by storm in the mid-noughties with a wild mix of talent, casualness and aggressiveness.

Drilled for success by his father Paul from an early age, Kim played his way to the top of the world in his early twenties.

He quickly won his first tournaments, became a hero in the Ryder Cup, got a lavish Nike contract, the fans loved his all-or-nothing game and his diamond-encrusted belt buckles with his initials.

Kim had flair and success and was chosen to sooner or later succeed Tiger Woods as the most exciting player in the world.

Kim's rise came at a time when Woods was having his first major career crises.

The golf world was looking for a legitimate successor.

Kim seemed to have what it took.

The New York Times once quoted one of Kim's former agents as saying, "His talent was greater than anything I had ever seen before.

And, I know it's sacrilegious, but that includes Tiger Woods."

The path seemed set, but then, from one day to the next, Kim was gone.

And didn't come back.

Kim, then 26, had already had a series of injuries, then he tore his left Achilles tendon while jogging on the beach.

A serious injury, but nothing that would have to end a golf career at such a young age.

But Kim not only retired from professional golf but, it seemed, from public life.

His disappearance invited guesswork.

Had he lost interest in golf?

Had he fallen into the world of gambling, drinking and nightclubs that he had previously enjoyed?

Eyewitness reports and rare snapshots that emerged of Kim reliably fueled speculation.

Sometimes he was seen in a bar, sometimes at a driving range.

Golf reporters kept searching for the missing person.

But he couldn't be found or didn't want to comment, and Kim's friends either didn't want to speak at all or only wanted to speak under the cloak of anonymity.

What became known from those around him indicated that Kim had received high sports disability insurance for his injury; there was talk of a sum of between ten and twenty million dollars.

As soon as Kim returned to the tour, he would have had to pay the money back.

And why did he disappear completely?

Kim exploited his body

You can earn a lot in golf.

In the five years that Kim played on the PGA Tour, he collected twelve million dollars in prize money alone.

Since then, the amounts have increased significantly.

A motivated and healthy Kim would probably have easily recouped the insurance sum in three to four years with his talent.

But Kim was plagued by injuries early on.

And the child prodigy from Los Angeles abuses his body.

Kim kept playing, stringing tournament after tournament, wanting to win titles and bonuses even when she was struggling.

That didn't work for long; his thumb, elbow and wrist kept putting him out of action.

And something else made Kim vulnerable: he relied completely on his feelings, his instincts.

So much so that his competitors could hardly believe it.

Tiger Woods was by far the most dominant player in the world for many years.

The American was perhaps not necessarily the golfer with the most talent.

Wood's strength was more of a mix of hard work, athleticism, cold-bloodedness and self-confidence.

Kim also brimmed with confidence and a desire to beat others in competition.

But unlike the superstar ten years her senior, Kim was a

feel player

through and through.

A video from 2008 makes this clear. For their joint sponsor Nike, Woods and Kim stood on a golf course in Los Angeles and answered questions about their golf game to some winners of a competition.

Woods explains his warm-up procedure, how many balls he hits with which club and what he pays attention to.

Kim: “Sometimes I hit a seven iron and two drivers and that's it.

I don’t really have a routine.”

Then his golf bag falls over with a clatter and the spectators laugh before Kim says the remarkable sentence: “Whatever the ball does, it does.”

The fact that Kim's attitude made it into the elite with his attitude in golf, where the vast majority of players meticulously fine-tune every detail of their swing, where many hit buckets of balls in order to avoid serious mistakes during the round as best as possible, was extraordinary and made him so interesting.

Now the golf world is faced with the question of what is left of it.

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The LIV tour, financed with money from the Saudi state fund, has now been able to lure Anthony Kim to return to professional golf.

With a wildcard he will take part in the tournament in Jeddah in the next three days.

Nothing is known about the contract details, but the golf series is known for exorbitant entry fees.

The biggest stars of the series such as Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm are said to have received up to several hundred million dollars for their departure from the PGA Tour and their signing with LIV.

Advance payment at LIV

LIV's principle of paying money for big names and big attention, rather than primarily for good rankings, has brought the series a lot of criticism.

For Anthony Kim, playing golf in front of an audience again was probably the only attractive option.

He is now 38 years old and has had no competition experience for over a decade.

He would have had to earn money on the PGA Tour, with LIV you can pay in advance.

In the social media videos posted on his return, Kim appears as a loving family man in a “Girl Dad” shirt.

The hair is longer than before, a few kilos and tattoos have also been added.

He's looking forward to the competition, he's been through a lot, he doesn't know many of his younger competitors, but he's looking forward to kicking their asses if possible.

For him it's all about golf now; he'll tell his whole story "when the time is right."

At least you don't have to look for him anymore, Anthony Kim.