Smylie Kaufman has filed for a medical extension, ending his PGA Tour season.
The one-time PGA Tour winner told Golf Digest that an "inflamed left elbow has plagued him for months. ... An MRI revealed no structural damage, but the pain, swelling and lack of range of motion was too much to bear."
Per the report, Kaufman will be sidelined for the next two to five months. When he does return, he'll have five starts to retain his Tour status.
Working every day to get back to having full range of motion in my elbow. I am looking forward to coming back stronger than ever. Thanks everyone for your support! https://t.co/XUV7rI4QIy— Smylie Kaufman (@SmylieKaufman10) August 3, 2018
The 26-year-old has missed the cut in 14 consecutive events, dating back to January. He has failed to break 80 eight times this season. In his most recent start, he withdrew from the Greenbrier following a first-round 79.
“It has been the toughest year, year-and-a-half of my life, golf wise,” he told Digest. “It sucks being really good for so long and feeling like I forgot how to play.”
Then a rookie, Kaufman shot a final-round 61 at TPC Summerlin to win the 2015 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. But his Tour exemption was set to run out this month. Kaufman is currently 196th on the FedExCup points list, leaving him four spots from missing even the Web.com Tour Finals.
In addition to his early success, Kaufman rose in profile thanks to some social-media-documented vacations with friends Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, in addition to an endorsement deal with Natural Light beer.
But in the midst of his struggles, platforms like Twitter and Instagram have been less than inspiring.
“Social media doesn’t help,” Kaufman said. “That place sucks. It was so great for me for so long, but it was never anything good the last six months. When I go to Twitter, it’s like reading the newspaper for me. Well, I don’t wanna see Tom or Joe telling me how bad I suck when I read the newspaper.”