Kim demonstrates eagerness to play in Ryder Cup

By Andrew Both

IRVING, Texas (Reuters) - Anthony Kim is so keen to play for the United States in October's Ryder Cup that he replied almost immediately to a recent text message from captain Corey Pavin inquiring about his fitness.

Kim, who is second on the U.S. points standings behind Phil Mickelson, withdrew from the Players Championship two weeks ago to undergo surgery on a badly injured left thumb.

"I texted him and asked him to let me know what's going on with the thumb and keep me current," Pavin told reporters on Wednesday on the eve of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

"I guess he took me literally because he called me about an hour after his surgery and we talked for a little while. I just want him to get better and I told him I was glad he made a bunch of points before he went in for surgery.

"He said that was his plan, to play as good as he could and try to get up there so that he could take that time off and come back and be ready to play.

"I think it's a good plan, but he has to come back and I'll have to assess how he's playing, and he has to assess how he's playing as well.

"I'll see how his thumb is doing and how his rehabilitation is coming along, but he could be a very important part of the team.

Kim, who turns 25 in exactly one month, is expected to miss next month's U.S. Open and also the British Open in July, but should recover in time for the Ryder Cup.

He made a successful Ryder Cup debut two years ago, posting two wins, one halve and one loss in his four matches as the Americans beat Europe for the first time since 1999.

On a more general Ryder Cup note, Pavin said he expected the Celtic Manor course in Wales to be set up for accuracy rather than power.

"It's going to be set up more U.S. Open-ish," he continued. "I think the rough is going to be long and thick. It's going to be very important to drive the ball straight there. I don't think length is going to be a huge factor.

"The golf course is more of a tactical course, I would say, than a course you can overpower. But as captain I want to have a good mix of players on my team. I want to be able to mix and match guys together. The eight guys that make the team are going to impact my four picks."

Pavin was speaking at the Four Seasons TPC, where he will be part of a 156-man field playing for a $6.5 million purse.

(Editing by John Mehaffey)