When golfers answer call of the wild, injuries can follow
Seven years ago David Duval tweaked his shoulder while snowboarding in Colorado. The injury plagued him for months. In 2005, Ernie Els ruptured a ligament in his knee while wakeboarding. Els missed half a season. On Sunday, it was Adam Scott’s turn. While bodysurfing on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, the 28-year-old Aussie twisted his right knee as he waded out of the surf. “His kneecap popped out for a moment and then slid back into place,” The Australian reported.
Scott’s manager described the injury as a “very minor, little issue,” but you can bet the organizers of this week’s Australian PGA Championship, from which Scott was forced to withdraw, found nothing minor about the news. Scott’s equipment and clothing sponsors (Titliest, FootJoy and Burberry) probably weren’t thrilled either. To be fair, he was only bodysurfing, not riding a longboard on the Pipeline. But Scott is an avid surfer, with more than 10 boards in his collection, and has been known to catch waves between Tour stops, a risky respite to say the least.
“Does Scott have a responsibility to the game of golf to not surf? No, I don’t think so,” says Ken Kennerly, an agent who counts Robert Allenby and Glen Day among his clients. “It’s a tricky situation. We’re not in the business of controlling what our players do, and I don’t think they’d want us to try.”
Kennerly wears a second hat as executive director of the Honda Classic, so he can empathize with the folks running the Aussie PGA. But, he says, when a big-name player withdraws, there’s not much a tournament can you do. “We chalk it up as bad luck,” he says.
Ultimately, Kennerly says, it’s up the players to make smart choices and to realize that poor decision-making off the course can and will hurt their earning potential. “It’s no different than you or I driving 80 through a snowstorm when you should be going 40,” he says.
Tour pros playing the part of X Gamers in their downtime isn’t commonplace, but let’s face it: few players get a rush from quilting, and there's little anyone can do to change that. Tiger Woods spearfishes. Davis Love III rides a Harley. John Daly sleeps outside Hooters. “What happens, happens,” Kennerly says.