Lietzke Thawed and Ready for Legends

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Bruce Lietzkes record in 2004: three events played; no finishes inside the top 30; one round in the 60s.
 
This doesnt read like the line of the defending U.S. Senior Open champion ' at least not a healthy one.
 
But Lietzke hasnt been healthy this season, suffering through what is referred to as a frozen shoulder.
 
It occurred last December, when Lietzke was taking practice swings in the garage of his Oklahoma lake house. Halfway through a swing, he felt a frightening pain that impeded his movement.
 
He had an x-ray, and then an MRI. Doctors told him that it wasnt arthritis; it was adhesive capsulitis, commonly known as frozen shoulder.
 
The cause of adhesive capsulitis is unknown, though, it only occurs in the shoulder. Scar tissue develops on the shoulder, causing a loss of motion and intense pain.
 
The affliction can last up to three years, but 12 months is the average. Lietzke has been fortunate, as he expects to be almost fully recovered as he tries to defend his title in this weeks Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.
 
He was used to spending more time at home than playing competitively ' but on his own terms. And not in this much pain. Now, with his shoulder 'thawed,' he says that he is close to 100 percent, health-wise.
 
In terms of flexibility, I'm almost all the way back, he told the Associated Press last week. I just need to regain a little more strength.
 
Lietzke won last years Legends by a stroke over David Eger and Dana Quigley. He went on to win the U.S. Senior Open in June.
 
This is the third straight year that the Legends will be an official individual event.
 
The event, which was first played in 1978 and led to the creation of the Champions Tour, was played as a team event the first 24 years of its existence.
 
One thing that continues to stay intact is the implementation of three age brackets. The Demaret Division, a 36-hole team competition for players 70 and older, will play Monday and Tuesday; the Raphael Division, for players 50-69, will compete Friday and Saturday; the Legends Division, which is open to all ages, will be Friday through Sunday.
 
The Demaret and Raphael Divisions are both better-ball, team competitions. They will split $800,000 in unofficial money. The Legends Division is an individual 54-hole, stroke-play event, which has an official $2.3 million purse.
 
Miller Barber and Jim Ferree are the two-time defending champions of the Demaret Division. Gary Koch and fellow NBC broadcaster Roger Maltbie captured the Raphael Division a year ago.
 
The event will be held for the second time at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, after four years at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf