NEWS

Rory McIlroy far from alone in finding hazards off the golf course

By Doug Ferguson
Published on

 
Rory McIlroy's ankle injury heading into the final two majors of the year raises questions about which hobbies star athletes should avoid. It also brings to mind an entertaining conversation a decade ago among Tiger Woods, Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn.
 
They had finished lunch in the clubhouse lounge at Firestone, and Woods was regaling his European pals about his adventures under the sea. A master diver in his spare time, Woods told them the best way to witness ocean life was to dive without a regulator and hold one's breath as long as possible because bubbles would scare the fish.
 
"The only problem is that when you don't make any bubbles," Woods said, "the sharks come around, too."
 
 
At this point, Bjorn raised those thick eyebrows and replied, "Just be careful down there. Our future earnings depend on you."
 
McIlroy hurt himself only while running toward a soccer ball in Northern Ireland over the weekend. He is out of the Aberdeen Asset Scottish Open, and the image of McIlroy on crutches in a walking boot on his left foot put his appearance at St. Andrews in serious doubt.
 
Was it a mistake for him to be playing soccer? Compared with other injuries to golfers, this would be considered one of the safer sports.
 
--Phil Mickelson closed with a 64 at Torrey Pines and was off to a strong start in 1994 when he went skiing in Flagstaff, Arizona. He fell and slid into a tree, breaking his upper left leg. He missed the Masters for the only time as a pro and was out for nearly three months.
 
 
Asked earlier that year about the risks of skiing, Mickelson told The New York Times, "Obviously, it's not very intelligent in our sport because we don't get guaranteed money. On the other hand, I'm 23 and don't want to live my life being afraid of getting hurt."
 
--Ernie Els was tubing in the Mediterranean during a family holiday in 2005 after the Open Championship when his body twisted one direction and his left leg went the other. He ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and had surgery, ending his streak of 50 consecutive majors. Els was No. 3 in the world. He was out for more than four months, returned in December and won the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.
 
--Lucas Glover was in Hawaii for the start of the 2012 season when he slipped off a paddle board, something he said he had done "a thousand times." Except this time, his foot caught the edge of the board, and he sprained his medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He stayed in Hawaii for two weeks trying to play, but didn't make his season debut until the Florida Swing. Glover didn't register a top 10 until a year later in Florida.
 
--Chris DiMarco, a playoff loser to Tiger Woods in the 2005 Masters and runner-up to Woods a year later in the Open Championship, fell during a ski trip at the end of the 2006 season. A flask in his backpack jabbed him in the ribs, and the injury nagged him the rest of the year. DiMarco at one point took a cortisone shot for his left shoulder. Within a year, he was out of the top 100 in the world and never got back.
 
--Jim Furyk was tailgating at a Baltimore Ravens game in 2000 when he rushed over to intercept a football being tossed around. He slipped and landed on his wrist and missed just over two months, including a pair of World Golf Championships and the Tour Championship.
 
The moral to these stories: Accidents happen. 
 
This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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