The Dark Side of Scott Verplank


Scott Verplank traces the date back to five years ago. So much water ran over the bridge before then. So little, almost a trickle, has gone since that date. And hes very thankful for the small favors.
Call it BP ' before pump ' and AP ' after pump. After the pump (insulin pump), he can actually control his old miserable sidekick ' diabetes. Before he had the insulin pump, he had to rely on a daily regimen of daily injections, administered by guess who, and it seemed like he never could get it right.
Its still a crapshoot at times, he says. Being a diabetic is very difficult, even in the best of circumstances. But now he can live without the daily regimen of a needle. And that is an immense relief.
Its like when I was a kid 30 years ago when I became diabetic ' it was like living in the stone age compared to now, said Verplank.
Now its like going to Mars and landing, compared to what it was like then. Technology has made it so much easier.
Verplank has labored with the disease all his adult life. Its not easy to describe if you dont have it. But suffice it to say that, when all systems arent go, youd rather be in bed than anywhere in the world. But its impossible to crawl in bed when youre entered in a golf tournament and you have another 10 holes to play.
Being diabetic, Ive always said its hard to have a good attitude or to be fired up to do anything if you dont feel good, he said, chatting at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. So thats why me feeling good is much more important to me than how Im swinging or anything else.
Many times Verplank has felt like a million bucks when the tournament started, only to feel like owes a hundred come Saturday. Somehow he has to fight through it. The wonder is that he has done it ' many times. He almost won this year, losing a playoff at the Ford Championship at Doral when Craig Parry holed out a fairway shot.
Hes having problems with his feet now, though he thinks the two are only partially related.
I felt like I was about crippled Saturday and Sunday in New Orleans, said Verplank. I mean, I was having a hard time taking a step after I would stand over a putt, because I didnt want to move my heel.
Plantar fiscitis, Verplank said was the foot problem. Like the disabetes, the feeling comes and goes. Some days its non-existent. Other days, its very existent.
Today is the best Ive felt in two or three weeks, he said, so Im looking forward to getting that behind me where I can get back to playing like I was earlier this year.
He went through some rather curious treatments for the foot ailment, including the sock treatment. Theyve got this sock now you can wear while youve sleeping, so Im all bound up in this sock deal that looks pretty good laying there in bed with all these things pulling on my toes and on my feet, he said with a laugh.
The diabetes, though, has never been something to laugh about. Diabetes has sidetracked Michelle McGann from a very successful career on the LPGA. Both McGann and Verplank now live with the pump, both with much more of a life of the course than they had without it. But life is never very easy when youve got diabetes.
Its still a very difficult thing to live with, agreed Verplank. And it doesnt take care of itself. You have to take care of it. But it is much easier.
I mean, theres just a lot ' you have more advantages now. You just have a lot more insight and better education, and its easier to deal with now.
Somehow, the problems of golf don't seem so bad anymore. Bogeys lose a little bit of their biting edge. Life's everyday problems seem so trivial at times when you don't have to worry about the effects of a foe that can rise up at any time and strike you.
Scott Verplank, though has this fight that he wrestles with every day. And the fight continues long after he leaves the golf course. Golf lasts only for 30 years or so. Diabetes lasts forever.
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