PLAYING INJURED -Chapter 3

It’s been such a challenge try to compete at the highest level in senior amateur golf, or any golf for that matter with an injury. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write about it at all.

The trip back from the UK was uneventful other than having to haul a lot of luggage to the airport from my hotel at the airport, and then finding the right check in lane. The Edinburgh airport is not the easiest to navigate and when your limping its even more challenging.

I was super happy to be heading home, but knew that I was unable to rest as the next tournament was coming up on Monday, the NCGA Valley Amateur which would have huge points towards player of the year. Knowing I would be tired upon my arrival back to San Francisco on Saturday, the last thing I wanted to do was play a practice round on Sunday. I have never played Oakdale Country Club, and knew that it would be nice, but I heard a bit tricky.

So off to Oakdale in the Central Valley I went early Monday morning to play a course I had no idea how to play or to mentally prepare for. My body was a bit beaten up with the travels back to the States, but wanted to give this my best and try to maintain a lead in the Senior Player of the Year standings (sadly that’s what we play for as amateurs).

I’m going to fast forward and spare you the details of my two rounds there, but I will tell you that I came to the 36th hole again tied with Mark Morgan for the lead, with a 5 shot cushion over those is 3rd. The same event a year earlier Mark and I also stood tied on the 18th and final hole. Last year I had a six iron into the par 5 finishing hole at Winchester CC only to rope hook it up on the hill and make a nasty bogey.

I was determined not to let something like that happen again. Mark had been making all these BOMB putts all day from off the greens, I was hoping it was perhaps my turn. But in the end, I hit a memorable 9 iron to 5 feet, while Mark sucked his shot off the green and down 6 feet off the green. I felt pretty comfortable that I would prevail this time. That was until Mark again from 40 feet and off the green drained a long put under intense pressure to put the heat back on me. My delicate 5 footer had a foot of break, and I did not hit a good putt. And again Mark was victorious.

My ankle seemed to hold up okay with the brace I had on it, and I was grateful that we were able to take golf carts right out onto the fairway to our balls.

THE NEXT FEW TOURNAMENTS BECAME MORE PAINFUL

I had all the majors now coming up, the US SENIOR AMATEUR, THE NCGA SENIOR MATCH PLAY, THE NCGA SENIOR STROKE PLAY, and a chance to outlast Jeff Wilson and Mark Morgan for Senior NCGA Player of the Year.

I was going to give you the blow by blow in each of them, but have decided not to. My next event was the NCGA Match Play at Spyglass Hill (one of my all time favorite courses) I won three matches to get to the semi-finals and a match with my good friend Scott Anderson, however that morning my ankle was so bad I called Scott and informed him I couldn’t play and needed someone from the hotel to help me to my car.

Now it was time for an MRI and Xray, which I drove 3 hours back home and directly to my doctors office and then straight to an offsite MRI office to get this ankle looked at. I was not surprised when told I have a bone sticking into my Achilles that was creating the pain and inflammation. I asked the doctor is I would be able to play golf, up next was the USGA Senior Amateur in North Carolina. He said you can try, but its going to be a challenge.

Up next, the USGA SENIOR AMATEUR

STAY TUNED

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