LIV Golf Jeddah
LIV Golf

After weeks of teases and starts and stops, Anthony Kim was finally announced Wednesday by LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman as the newest addition to its startup, Saudi-funded league. A.K. has not played professionally since the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA Tour in May 2012, and there were rumors (seemingly rooted in a 12-year absence) that he may never play again because of an injury insurance policy that paid him handsomely.

After 12 years, though, he's back. On Friday, he will tee it up at LIV Jeddah at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City. And while we don't know what the financial details of his contract with LIV Golf (or his insurance policy) actually are, I frankly don't care. This signing is less what LIV Golf says about Anthony Kim and more what Anthony Kim's signing says about LIV Golf.

Norman announced the signing with all the bluster we have become accustomed to over the last few years. What he said was true, just not in the way that he meant it.

"LIV Golf was launched to create new opportunities for players and fans that drive this sport forward in exciting ways, and when I think of Anthony Kim, I can't imagine a more perfect fit for what we're trying to do," said Norman. "His talent is undeniable, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to professional golf with our league."

Try to ignore for a minute all the problems signing somebody who has not played professional golf since Kevin Durant was on the Thunder represents for a league attempting to adhere to the meritocratic requirements of the Official World Golf Rankings. 

If one can momentarily ignore that (and we will come back to it in a minute), then the key phrase here is "I can't imagine a more perfect fit for what we're trying to do."

What Norman thinks this means is that Kim perfectly represents the intersection of golf and entertainment that LIV aspires to achieve. Kim is a showman, and LIV has (successfully) tried to hire showmen. But he's more than this. He's a personality, a character. Golf needs more Anthony Kims, and as has been pointed out time and again, LIV has taken so many of the characters. 

But an alternate (and perhaps more correct) interpretation is this: LIV now has a massive collection of golfers like Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and others who are not the players they once were. Who are not currently the golfers their names would imply that they are. Kim seemingly fits this definition as well. He's 38 years old and has little resemblance of the electric factory who once torched Sergio Garcia in a Ryder Cup match and made 11 birdies in a round at the Masters.

That does not mean LIV Golf is not a competitive league or that Kim won't be good. Jon Rahm makes LIV competitive, and Kim could be great. But all the progress made by signing Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton, and all the momentum from Joaquin Niemann's invite to the Masters ... is a bit undone by this Kim signing.

It represents a confusion over what LIV wants to be. Are you an entertainment product with big names and little substance? Or are you a competitive golf league that's making a run at having more current stars and superstars than the PGA Tour? If the former leads to the latter, then so be it. But this is a step backwards for a league that has made overtures at being more competitive, serious and meritocratic. There are only so many spots in the LIV Golf league, and LIV is filling those spots with both types of players. The Rahms and the Kims.

The exhausting OWGR debate is simply a proxy for the greater truth of LIV Golf right now: Even after two years of play and several different iterations, the league is still not completely sure of what it wants to be.