Clark leaves Hawaii uninjured and feeling optimistic about rest of 2013

Tim Clark at the Sony Open
Getty Images
Tim Clark finished second at the Sony Open, and he felt even better when he left than when he arrived.
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 | 7:09 p.m.

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- No other tournament has brought Tim Clark an equal measure of big payoffs and big problems like the Sony Open.

He has been runner-up twice at Waialae and finished inside the top 25 the other two times he played. That's the good news. But he also suffered two injuries at that tournament that effectively cost him the rest of the year.

The more memorable incident was in 2011. After his runner-up finish, Clark realized he had torn tendons in his elbow that some of his friends thought might end his career. He tried to let the injury heal through rest and rehabilitation until he had no choice but surgery. He played only three more times, and it took until the end of last year before he started feeling healthy again.

And then there was 2001.

''Believe it or not, my rookie season, it was at a pro-am here that I blew my wrist out and missed my whole rookie season,'' he said Sunday. He tried to play three more times after that until he withdrew from Pebble Beach and was done for the year.

''I either come second here or blow myself out for a year,'' he said.

This year, he left Honolulu in one piece and had reason to hope for a good year after finishing second. Even as he tried to regain some strength and his form last year, he still finished at No. 61 on the money list, including a runner-up finish to Sergio Garcia at the Wyndham Championship. That made him optimistic coming out to Hawaii, and he felt even better when he left.

''I still have to look after my arm,'' Clark said. ''I still have to do physio and stuff. But when I get out to the course, it's not on my mind. And it's been a long road. ... I always felt like I'd get my game back at some point, and last year it showed when I had some good tournaments.

''Today meant a lot,'' he said Sunday. ''To be able to stay calm and feel like I had a chance to win here, I do feel like I'm back.''