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Mark O'Meara backs Anthony Kim to succeed

Emerging American talent Anthony Kim has a better golf swing at 22 than Tiger Woods had at a similar age, according to double major champion Mark O'Meara.

Kim, a three-times All-American at the University of Oklahoma, is highly rated by his peers and O'Meara believes the Los Angeles native is capable of becoming a prolific winner on the PGA Tour.

"At 22, Tiger had already won six tournaments and I think Tiger's mental game was probably stronger," O'Meara, 51, told reporters on Tuesday during preparation for this week's Buick Invitational.

"But technique-wise, I reckon Anthony's swing is better at 22 than what Tiger's was. I think I'm a pretty good judge of what I see in somebody's bag and what they've got in talent, and that kid has got it.

"He could win multiple tournaments a year easily and win major championships. That's how talented he is in my opinion."

O'Meara, who won 16 titles on the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters and British Open in 1998, first met Kim at last month's Merrill Lynch Shootout where they played together.

"I was blown away," O'Meara recalled of the experience. "I remember telling my wife: 'Oh, my gosh, I haven't played that much with some of the top young players besides Tiger but this guy has got some game because he can play little shots'.

"He'll move the ball a little bit (fade or draw), his short game is good, he putted well and he has some length for his size. He hits it 30 (yards) by me."

O'Meara, who mentored Woods when the future world number one first came out on Tour, was also impressed by Kim's hunger for success.

"He wants to win," he said. "He's got a little bit of an attitude but he's grown up a lot. I've never been more excited about playing with a young player and watching how he played.

"There's no way he shouldn't play well every week. He's way too skilled not to."

Kim, the youngest rookie on last year's PGA Tour, produced five top-10 finishes in his debut campaign for earnings of just over $1.5 million.

Last week, he tied for third in his first start of the season at the Bob Hope Classic in Palm Desert.


January 23, 2008

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