Goosen, recovering from back surgery, encouraged with 2013 debut

Retief Goosen at the Volvo Golf Champions
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Retief Goosen is working on regaining his strength and timing now that back surgery has allowed him to straighten up his alignment again.
Associated Press

Series: European Tour

Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 | 7:00 p.m.

DURBAN, South Africa -- The Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa marked the return of two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, who had not played in five months after finally having surgery on his back.

Goosen's back had been bothering him for the last three years, and he reached a point that he felt his only choice was disc replacement surgery. His last event was the PGA Championship. He opened in South Africa with a tie for 20th.

''Really since the day after the surgery, I was walking. And a week later, my back was feeling good,'' Goosen said last week. ''And so far, it's been five months now and it's still feeling great. Getting a bit tight from hitting a few rounds ... but so far so good. Very excited about the new year. Hopefully, the back will stay as good as it feels now. I just need to really work on my swing a little bit and find a bit of game.''

To say he has a clean bill of health takes in more than just his back.

''I've been off painkillers,'' he said. ''That cleans the system out a little bit. You feel a bit better. So I'm feeling very confident for this year.''

Goosen is playing Qatar and Dubai before eventually making his way to America. At this point, he is eligible only for the U.S. Open among the majors. He still has plenty of work to do on his swing.

Goosen said he was falling away on his swing last year because that's how his back was leaning. Now that new disk has straightened his back, he can stay on top of the ball better. The goal is to regain strength and the timing in his swing.



Just had spinal fusion on Valentine's Day and the doc says golf by mid-May if the next x-ray is OK. L-3, L-4. Talked with my personal physician and she said it shouldn't affect lateral movement as much as bending over. I'm anxious to get back to the game though as my wife keeps getting better and now has to give me strokes. Our home course won't open for a couple of weeks as it's at 3,500' and had several inches of snow today. Hoping for the best as no golf would be no bueno!


IDK if he had a fusion, but to be golfing 5 mos after a disc replacement is a gift! I take it u r golfg after ur fusion, mike? I just had a laminectomy decompression surgery that was a failure. Golf is uncertain rite now. Live in WI so i have a lil time left.
Whadda ya say goose, the rest of ur spine must be in line i take. I ( we ) will be taking notice of u each week this yr. Good luck with all!


I just had a spinal fusion and didn't think I'd be able to golf again. Did Retief have a fusion done as well when he had his disc replaced?