A Game for the Walking Wounded

By Rex HoggardMay 6, 2011, 12:44 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Golf doesn’t have an official injury report like other sports, but as the list of walking wounded expanded this week at the Wells Fargo Championship it’s not from a lack of content.

If such a publication existed it would read something like this: Tiger Woods, knee and Achilles, out; Tim Clark, elbow, out; Geoff Ogilvy, shoulder, out; Padraig Harrington, neck, probable; Lucas Glover, stomach, probable; Rocco Mediate, back, questionable; Shaun Micheel, ringing in ears, questionable.

Golf may be a gentleman’s game, but those who play for pay aren’t immune to a metaphorical blow to the gut from time to time. On any given day the Tour’s fitness vans are bubbling over with all manner of aches and pains. So much so that years ago the Tour started sending out two vans, one for working out, one for working on the wounded.

At 7 a.m. Lucas Glover arrived in the latter, “and he said he didn’t feel great,” said his trainer Randy Myers. Sixty-seven strokes later the circuit’s Grizzly Adams stand-in was three strokes off the lead and one more trip to the Port-a-John away from an IV.

Lucas Glover
Lucas Glover shot a 5-under 67 Thursday while suffering from a stomach virus. (Getty Images)
“If you just hang out around the fitness vans, you'll know that guys are always dealing with little bitty things here or there,” said David Toms, T-2 through Round 1. “I don't think the human body is meant to be standing straight up for eight to 10 hours a day and then bending over half of that time hitting a golf shot twisting your body in all kinds of crazy ways.”

Arm-chair linebackers everywhere will scoff at the notion, but there is nothing non-contact about golf, at least not on the PGA Tour level.

“Probably 10 percent of every field deals with injuries,” said Myers, director of fitness at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort. “Everybody is hurt.”

Myers should know he works with perhaps two of the most injury-prone players in the game – Davis Love III and Jonathan Byrd.

That Byrd found his way into a share of second at Quail Hollow, or any tournament for that matter, is something of a medical miracle. In no particular order J-Byrd has struggled with and through a hip surgery, cracked ribs, a shoulder sprain and the occasional lower back ailment.

Clark, the defending champion next week at The Players Championship if he can haul himself off the DL, has been just as star-crossed – sidelined at various stops in his career by a bulging disc in his neck and now an ailing right elbow that may keep him from defending his first Tour title next week.

All total 22 frat brothers are playing under a medical exemption of one form or another this year. From the surreal to the serious, Tour types stretch the bounds of even the best of health plans.

Padraig Harrington has been nursing an ailing neck since The Masters, which he hurt on Thursday while swinging a weighted club left handed. It’s an exercise, he says with only a pinch of sheepishness, that is supposed to help loosen up his chronically ailing neck.

“I couldn’t move my neck to the right at all,” Harrington said. “But now it’s good and I’m doing a lot of work in the gym on it.”

The prognosis for Woods doesn’t seem as optimistic. Last Tuesday he announced he would miss this week’s Wells Fargo event with a knee and Achilles injury. For those scoring at home, that’s four knee procedures and now a second bout with an Achilles injury, the first occurring in 2009, all of which makes next week’s Players a day-to-day decision.

What golf lacks in impact and brute trauma it more than makes up for in repetitive pain. Simply put, a good golf swing is anything but good for the body.

“If your hands are hurting, your elbow, your shoulder, your hips, your back, if anything is hurting it's just a difficult sport to play to me,” Toms said. “You can get a blister on your pinky finger and all of a sudden it's hard to play golf just because of all the feel that goes into golf shots. That's just part of it.”

Toms is no stranger to the fitness or operating table, from wrist surgery in 2003 and a back injury in 2006 to a heart scare at the 2005 84 Lumber Classic where he was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia.

But if the Tour maintained an official DL it may be named in Micheel’s honor. The 2003 PGA Championship winner has been diagnosed with low testosterone, had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in 2009 and may currently be suffering from one of the strangest ailments ever reported – an inner ear disorder called endolymphatic hydrops, a form of Meniere's Disease.

“I move around inside myself,” Micheel said last month at The Heritage. “I know that sounds kind of weird, but it's the best way to describe what's happening to me.”

Micheel had tubes put in his ears to help alleviate constant ringing and twice had to have his eardrums pierced to drain fluid, but he said on Thursday before he teed off at Quail Hollow that he had not seen any improvement.

These guys may be good, and they may also need help getting off the golf course. The only thing missing from a potential Tour injury report is the ubiquitous “oblique” injury. But the year is still young, even if the rank and file isn’t feeling that way.

Follow Rex Hoggard on Twitter @RexHoggardGC

Getty Images

Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.