Brett Rumford will seek the advice of legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne as he seeks a solution to the wrist injury that threatens to end his career.
Speaking prior to last week’s HSBC Champions World Golf Championship event in China, Rumford revealed in a raw column for pga.org.au that being unable to compete had left him feeling detached from the players around him.
After an encouraging opening round of 73 Rumford again struggled at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, posting rounds of 80-78-78 to finish the week in 75th position at 21-over par.
The West Australian will now take three weeks to try and alleviate the pain in his wrist enough so that he can play in the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship, during which time he will speak with Warne about how he managed his famous right wrist during his extraordinary cricket career.
The pair spoke briefly when Warne partnered Ryan Fox at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland earlier this month and Rumford will again seek him out when he returns from China.
“I had a chat with Shane Warne at the Dunhill Links and with the wrist issues that he’s had and the surgeon that he saw in Melbourne,” Rumford explained.
“I’m going to go down that recommendation over the next three weeks, get in touch with Shane and see if I can make this appointment.
“I’ve had the MRI so I’ve just got to try and give it a bit of a rest and try some alternative medicines for three weeks.
“I’m going to try and play out until the end of the summer, play the Aussie events as best I can and if I can try and subside this wrist in any way over the next three weeks I’ll be doing my best to do that.”
Rumford’s right wrist issues stretch back five years to when he first injured it while hitting balls off a mat and twice this year he has had to miss tournaments in order to receive cortisone injections into the affected area.
There is 1.6 centimetres of thickened tendon and scar tissue along with some calcification just on the bone that needs to be removed for Rumford to be able to play pain free.
“If surgery is my only option then it’s going to be four months out, I know that,” said the 41-year-old.
“There’s blood spinning and shock therapy but there have been quite a number of these types of surgeries on the European Tour of late.
“Graeme Storm had it done, Bernd Weisberger has just come back after four months out, Joost Luiten just played his first event after five months out with the same wrist surgery. The doctors on the European Tour are specialists in this area and they’re part of the process of analysing all these golfers’ ailments.
“Obviously the wrist is a high problematic area that they’ve studied over time so they’re very experienced in the areas of surgery and the issues that golfers face.
“I sat down with them two weeks ago at the British Masters and between the three of them they suggested what I needed.
“Going by their advice if I want to be pain free I need to go down that road. It’s a reasonably simple operation but once it’s all cleaned up it’s the healing process that is a drag. You lose a little bit of mobility but nothing that’s going to affect the golf swing.
“It’s just a slow process of building up the strength and mobility in the wrist. It might take another six or seven weeks before that starts to build up again and then you can start hitting golf balls again.”
A six-time European Tour winner, Rumford’s finishing position of 142 in the 2018 Race to Dubai leaves him without status and contemplating a change of direction post-surgery.
“I need to get the surgery done not just for my golf but for my general day-to-day living,” explained Rumford, who won the 2017 ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth tournament.
“Outside of swinging a golf club it’s very painful, you can catch it just reaching for your seatbelt in the car, luggage, getting up off the ground.
“Next year I’ve got to focus on getting this wrist right. I’d rather not have a tour card and be fit and healthy and be able to practice and get my game and my psychology back to a level of competing than anything else.
“Where I compete is another thing. Maybe Japan might be the tour going forward.
“I’ve got full exemption on the Australasian Tour so I might be able to play some smaller events moving forward. I’ve got that as a back-up which is nice, whether I apply for one of my years as a medical exemption might be an option.
“I’ll just have to see where I’m at. With my situation and my girls in school I think maybe Japan might be a good option for the latter stages of my career.
“It’s something that I’ll think about over Christmas. I certainly don’t want to stop playing competitively but where I play might change.”
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