Inkster faces big challenges as she tries to recuperate from elbow surgery

juli inkster
Getty Images
Juli Inkster faces the longest layoff of her three-decade career after surgery to repair a painful elbow tendon.
Associated Press

Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 | 7:33 p.m.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Even when she took time off from the LPGA Tour to have two children, Juli Inkster never went more than a month without playing golf. Now comes her biggest challenge.

After trying to cope with pain in her right elbow, Inkster had surgery Jan. 27 to repair a torn tendon. The 51-year-old Hall of Famer will be in some form of a cast for the next month, and might not be able to return until the middle of summer at the earliest.

That’s OK with her.

“It’s going to take a lot of work, but I want to go out on my terms,” Inkster said. “This is the first injury I’ve ever had. Before the surgery, I was kind of floundering. I wouldn’t say I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at least this is the start of the tunnel.”

The tough part will be finding something to do, except for the physical therapy. Inkster is all about competing. It’s been in her blood since she won the U.S. Women’s Amateur three straight years, and then went on to the career Grand Slam.

“Me? How do you think Brian is feeling?” said Inkster, whose husband is the PGA Head Professional at Los Altos Country Club. “I’m sure there’s going to be some `Sorry, I’ve got another meeting today, honey.’ I think once I get started with physical therapy I’m going to be fine. But I’ve been watching a lot of `NCIS.’ It got to the point where I was watching so much football I started calling the plays.”