Back Injury Is Gone But Effects Remain for Toms


David Toms fought through 2008 with a problem most golfers endure, a lower back injury. Unfortunately for Toms, the injury was the main contributor to his worst season in more than a decade. Now, he sits outside the top-50 in the Official World Golf Ranking and on on the outside looking in with regard to a Masters invitation.
Major champion Toms appears to be healthy. Despite a mediocre finish at the Bay Hill Invitational, he has three top-10 finishes in six events this year and he has climbed 49 spots in the world rankings to number 64. Fully recovering from a back injury, however, can mean much more than being pain-free.
According to Dr. Morris Pickens, a sports psychologist and performance specialist at Sea Island Golf Learning Center, and a expert, David may be wondering how hard he can go at it. Says Dr. Pickens, From hitting shots out of the rough, to trying to clear a long water hazard, he may not trust that he can go at the tough shots as he normally would.
Lower back injuries can be some of the most fickle. A back injury can make itself known at the worst of times. In Toms case, after a second-rate week at Bay Hill, he may want and need to put in extra practice. According to Dr. Pickens, When youre not playing well, you naturally want to practice, but, for Toms, how much practice he can take is the issue. For a player like Toms, whos game is built on excellent putting, adequate time on the practice green is imperative, but the putting green takes its toll, even on a healthy back. For a back in recovery, the toll is even greater.
Hes going to be looking for the things his doctors have told him to look for, says Dr. Pickens, speaking of the physical signs his body gives him when something is about to go wrong with his back. From fatigue to pains, physicians have likely clued Toms into the health of his back, which will aid him in remaining injury-free and maximizing the amount of time he can log practicing.
A professional like David Toms is no different than every amateur playing the game, everyone should take precautions to ensure a healthy back. Golf-specific exercises that strengthen the core as well as the back, and proper pre-round active stretches are the first line of defense in maintaining a healthy back.
Toms would not take much solace in the fact that his back, and not diminished skill or performance, has left him as a Masters outsider. One of the best putters and most accurate drivers in the game will serve him well as he looks to climb higher in the world rankings.
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