Parnevik optimistic about playing after seeing specialist

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Jesper Parnevik sounded optimistic about returning to golf Wednesday after speaking to a Michigan specialist who told him he could avoid surgery for a broken vertebrae.

One day after telling a Swedish tabloid that it would take a "miracle" for him to play golf again, Parnevik said rest and physical therapy could put him back on the PGA Tour in a couple of months.

He said he would go to Detroit next week to meet with Gary Gray, who specializes in applied functional science.

"It's painful and all that," Parnevik said from his home in south Florida. "The good news is I finally found out what's been bothering me the last few years. The good thing is now I can do something about it. The bad news is I never expected it would be a fractured vertebrae."

Parnevik, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, told the Aftonbladet for a story Wednesday that doctors told him he would need joint fusion surgery, "which means I can't play anymore."

"I'll have to hope for a miracle if there's going to be any more competitive golf," he told the newspaper.

His mood changed considerably after speaking with Gray, recommended to him by Parnevik's sister, who he said once worked with the Detroit Red Wings.

"That I'm going to quit the game and my career is over is not the case," Parnevik said. "He was very optimistic that I could come back without having the surgery. I'm going to have to rest for a few months and go on his workout schedule. I'm going to do everything I can to get back and hopefully get rid of the stiffness and pain in my back, and play normal golf."

Parnevik had surgery on his left hip about nine years ago, and missed the second half of last year with surgery on his right hip.

He shot a 68 in the first round of the Northern Trust Open despite hitting 200-yard hooks off the tee and leaving himself fairway metals into most of the greens. He said it was the greatest 68 he had ever had. The 44-year-old Swede withdrew the next day.

"I did not not have a clue what to do about my back," Parnevik said. "Now I know exactly what to do. It was a very good phone call."

Parnevik recently made news for expressing his outrage at Tiger Woods' extramarital affairs. He once employed Woods' wife, Elin, as a nanny and introduced her to Woods.

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