Pros go away only when the pain won't

  • Article by: BRIAN STENSAAS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2012 - 12:52 PM

Nick Price and Mark O'Meara are coming back from vexing injuries to play in the 3M Championship.

hide

Two torn tendons near his left elbow kept Nick Price off the golf course for 15 weeks.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Subconsciously, Nick Price gently tapped on his left elbow as he discussed the past 15 weeks. The spot near his two healing tendons is still tender to the touch, but nothing like the pain that has kept him out of competition.

"The longest layoff I've had ever," Price said. "Treading water waiting for something to happen. For a long time I thought it was a career-ender."

Mark O'Meara was sitting in the same chair a little while later, discussing a similar amount of idle time. He stuck his fingers out in the shape of Pac-Man, compressing them up and down to simulate what his right lower rib endured with the cartilage torn off.

"It felt like somebody was sticking a knife in there," he said.

Detail by detail, Price and O'Meara discussed the pain -- physically and mentally.

The only treatment prescribed for each of them? Rest and rehabilitation. Or exactly what professional golfers despise.

"I drove my family crazy," Price said.

It comes to an end Friday at the 3M Championship. The 55-year-old major champions are scheduled to tee off for the first time in a long time a half-hour apart at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.

"I've played for 32 years as a professional golfer and [been through] nothing like this," O'Meara said. "I've missed the Masters. Missed the [British] Open Championship. Missed all the Champions Tour majors. Unfortunately, 2012 hasn't been a very good year for me as a golfer."

Both went to specialists. They had MRIs, bone scans and acupuncture.

Two decades ago the layoff might have been a month or two for O'Meara and Price. But as competitors on a tour for golfers 50 and older, no activity is the best medicine, not aggressive treatment.

"I just hope I'm not jumping the gun," said Price, who played his first round of golf since his diagnosis just last Friday. "I'm a pretty hard practicer, but I'm down to 40-50 balls a day. I'm going to have to draw on all my experiences [this weekend]. I'm sure I'm going to hit some funny shots."

O'Meara, winner of both the Masters and British Open in 1998, tried to make a comeback in late June at the Champions Tour event in Montreal. If he could prove himself there, he thought, maybe competing in the British Open a month later wouldn't be out of the question.

Nope.

"At times I'd just be walking and I'd feel it: Somebody stuck me," he said.

O'Meara made a pledge to sit all of July. He and Price traded text messages about getting back on the course this week.

"I would have come back three weeks ago if I could have," said Price, winner of the 1992 and 1994 PGA Championships and the 1994 British Open. "I don't want to embarrass myself. But I want to get out there and play."

Neither player has high expectations for this week, or the rest of the year. Even if they play the balance of the Champions Tour schedule without incident, they are on pace to finish with the lowest number of events entered in their professional careers in a single season.

It doesn't bother them. A little golf is still good golf.

"At our age it's a blessing to still be able to play professional golf," O'Meara said. "We have strong players, Hall of Fame players. But there's a love-hate relationship. When you do it so much, you get a little worn out, but this is what I am programmed to do."

  • 3M CHAMPIONSHIP

    Today-Sunday • TPC Twin Cities

    TV: The Golf Channel (11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles 2 Bottom 1st Inning
Chicago Cubs 1
Detroit 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Kansas City 0
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Iowa 7 3rd Qtr
Pittsburgh 17
Old Dominion 21 2nd Qtr 1:49
Rice 14
Troy 0 2nd Qtr 0:56
(13) Georgia 38
Georgia Tech 10 2nd Qtr 0:27
Virginia Tech 13
Eastern Mich 0 2nd Qtr 2:40
(11) Michigan State 49
Bowling Green 10 2nd Qtr 8:42
(19) Wisconsin 27
Maryland 14 2nd Qtr 14:00
Syracuse 13
Tulane 7 2nd Qtr 10:38
Duke 16
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close