Anthony Kim on his aggressive style, his beef with Robert Allenby and more

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Anthony Kim had dreams to play in the NBA, but he settled on the PGA Tour.
Rob Tringali

Your dream was to play in the NBA. So is the PGA Tour
second best?

That’s tough to say. The grass is always greener. I wasn’t
good enough to play pro basketball. I was destined to
play golf. It would have been great to play in the NBA,
but that was obviously a pipe dream. I love it, though.
There’s a lot more strategy than guys just running
around. It’s great that you get to be competitive by
mouthing off a little bit to your opponents, too.

Is that why you always seem to get especially
pumped up for match-play events?

Match play is great. You’re
playing the course, but
you’re also playing your
opponent. It rewards
aggression. Sure, you
have to play smart,
too, but it’s usually
the guys making
birdies who end up
winning the holes.
But mouthing off is
something that fits
better in basketball—
golf is a gentleman’s
game [laughs].

Do you struggle to rein in your aggression in stroke-play events?
One bad shot used to be the end of the world for me. But I’m getting
better at controlling my emotions. I’m learning to be more even-keeled,
to tone back a little. You know, don’t fire at every pin. But I still get that
itch to do it once in a while when I know I shouldn’t. And then I’ll get
away with it one time and say, “Hey, I can do this all the time!”

How do you feel about your reputation as a party animal?
There’s a time and a place for everything. My mother’s been telling me
that since I was 4. I listen to her, because she still scares me [laughs].

Do you feel you can’t go out for a drink when you want to?
I’m sure nobody would mind if I was hanging out at a birthday party til
late, but nobody wants to hear that somebody is throwing away their
potential, which is why I’ve changed my tune from my rookie year.
When I go home I’m with college buddies and friends, and everyone
wants to let their hair down once in a while. But I understand that
people are going to take pictures and Twitter. So I have to be careful.

So what was all that hassle at the Presidents Cup about? [Robert
Allenby accused Kim of staggering home in the early hours before
their Sunday singles match.]

It was unfortunate that my week
had to end that way because I had a
good week with my team and what
was said was completely false. But
that comes with the job. I’m pretty
laid back, and if somebody wants to know something, they’re probably
going to find out. That’s a pretty
fine line to walk, because people can
make up stories and speculate on
your life. But at the same time, I’m not like Tiger Woods — not every
single person in the world wants to know what I’m doing.

Which characteristics do you dislike in others?
Dishonesty, disloyalty and people who are cheap [laughs]. You know,
I’ve got no problem forking out for the bill nine times out of 10. But
just once, you gotta shout your round. That’s for acquaintances. But for
pals, the bill is always on me — 100 times out of 100.

What would you change about your own character?
Impatience. It pretty much creates all my problems [smiles].

What are your ambitions?
I was born in the U.S. and I’m an American, but I would still like to
help grow the game in Asia. But I just wanna be as good as I can be.
It could be No. 1. The problem with my rookie year was that I said I
wanted to be No. 1. But I still do. I would love to win majors.

Do you enjoy being the center of attention?
I always wanted to be on TV, have money, and help my friends and
family. And I feel like I’m doing all those things. I know I would enjoy
all the attention that comes from winning majors, even though I
haven’t done the best job with that so far. But I’ll get better at it.