A text message from former Australian professional Andrew Bonhomme convinced Cameron Percy to play the waiting game rather than play through the pain of a fractured wrist in search of a return to the PGA TOUR.
With a card to the US main tour already secured, Percy may yet skip the Korn Ferry Tour Championship this week, the deep rough at the Victoria National Golf Club in Indiana an examination of his still fragile wrist that he can now do without.
Like Percy, Rhein Gibson has also locked up a PGA TOUR card for 2020 while Curtis Luck (15th) and Jamie Arnold (18th) can do the same if they can maintain their position within the top 25 at the completion of the Tour Championship.
Cameron Davis (34th), Steven Alker (44th) and Brett Coletta will need to play their way in from outside the top 25 but Percy has the luxury of being able to pull out of this week with a view to starting the PGA TOUR season in good health in a fortnight’s time.
Well and truly entrenched inside the top 25 of the Order of Merit early in the season, a freak accident while on a family holiday threatened to not only derail Percy’s season but potentially end his playing career.
In a cruel twist of fate, the opportunity to catch a later flight provided the Percy family an extra two hours at the resort at which they were staying, Cameron slipping on wet concrete as he looked down to talk to his youngest son, Tyler.
As he rose to his feet he feared that he had suffered a serious shoulder injury, the inability to lift a suitcase pointing to a fractured wrist that has haunted many professional golfers, including Bonhomme.
The Queenslander had qualified for the secondary Nationwide Tour in 2008 and was full of confidence when he suffered an injury similar to Percy’s in eerily similar circumstances.
A slip on the tee box during the Mexico Open forced Bonhomme to take two months off with a wrist injury and he was quick to caution Percy on returning to tournament golf prematurely.
“I’m really close with Andrew Bonhomme and a few years ago now he was really, really hot,” Percy said.
“He was playing some fantastic golf and looked like getting his PGA TOUR card and he slipped on concrete with spikes on, fractured his wrist and a few years later was out of the game.
“He stopped playing golf and was driving trucks in the mines.
“I thought of him and he reached out to me as soon as I’d hurt myself and told me not to come back too early.
“He didn’t say not to come back too early for this or that or whatever. And I was getting the OK from the physios who were saying structurally I was fine and that it was just a matter of getting strength back in the wrist and arm.
“But I was getting pins and needles from nerve damage so I had to stop playing because at impact I was losing control of the club and it was flying into the trees.
“Once the nerve damage got better I went to play again and all of a sudden my fingers started going numb. I played two weeks with numb fingers, went home and it took me three weeks to fix that.”
In between his holiday accident in April and the start of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals two weeks ago Percy played just four events, one of which he had to withdraw from following an opening round of 69.
Finishing 47th in the regular season point standings earned the 45-year-old Victorian a place in the playoffs but with very limited preparation the early signs were not good.
“I had a week of practice before the start of the playoffs. I didn’t do a lot of practice but I did as much as I could without overdoing it,” he explained.
“I turned up and was pretty well underdone and without much confidence. On the Monday I played the pro-am and probably shot 78, wondering what the hell I was doing there.
“I practiced hard on Tuesday and found something. I shot 7-under in the first round and I’ve run with that ever since.”
Tied for 11th in both the first two events of the Korn Ferry Finals was enough for Percy to return to the PGA TOUR, and caused a late change of plans last Sunday.
“I finished my round, got a red-eye home, landed at six in the morning and the kids were coming down the stairs to get ready for school when I walked in the house,” Percy said of his decision to race home to Raleigh to see his wife Katie and three boys Liam, Ashton and Tyler.
“I spent the day at home with the wife, picked the kids up from school, took Ashton to baseball practice and then left for Indianapolis after about 24 hours.
“I was supposed to fly out Monday to the next event but I had a look at the weather and it poured rain all day on Monday so I decided to go home.
“After being away for two weeks being home for one night is worth it. Being able to get home was fantastic.
“It was going to be 22 days away from home and that’s a lot for me these days, I can’t go much longer than two weeks without going crazy.
“All my friends in the neighborhood wanted to celebrate as well but I was home for les than 24 hours so didn’t get a chance to do that.
“Maybe in about seven weeks we can celebrate.
“We’ll get around to it eventually,” he added.
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