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Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Long Road to Recovery...

According to Dr. surgery was a success!  The procedure lasted close to five hours and by all reports, everything went well.

Dr. Philippon told my wife, Beth,that he was "amazed that I was able to play golf " due to the incredible amount of damage in my left hip.  He successfully removed three bones spurs, a cyst, shaved and reshaped my femur, and repaired a COMPLETELY torn labrum that according to Dr. Philippon..."looked like it had been mangled by a dog"!

He also performed Microfracture surgery due to the limited amount of cartilage in my left hip.  This procedure was done by creating tiny fractures in my femur head.  "Blood and bone marrow (which contains stem cells) seep out of the fractures, creating a blood clot that releases cartilage-building cells. The microfractures are treated as an injury by the body, which is why the surgery results in new, replacement cartilage."

So thanks to Dr. Philippon, I will soon be a new man!  The before and after pictures are amazing and I was told by one Doctor that I received "a million dollar hip" due to all of the repairs...I couldn't agree more!  My road to recovery began immediately and I will be honest with wasn't very much fun!  Two hours after leaving the hospital I climbed up on a bike and began peddling.  As you can imagine, this didn't tickle!  However, I toughed it out pain wise and made it through day one (not without throwing up almost all over my therapist!).  Day one of many, many more days of rehab.  For now, I am scheduled to spend the next three weeks in Vail, Colorado, under the watchful eye of The Steadman Clinic with rehab occurring two or three times a day.  I will be on crutches for the next 8 weeks and I am required to spend 8 hours a day in a special machine for my leg and hip.

My road to recovery will be extremely long but I am excited about the prospect of one day playing golf pain free.  I have battled the best players in the world on one hip for over four years and I cannot wait to see how I compete against them once I am 100% healthy.  I fully expect that my journey will have some highs and lows but I am very fortunate to have the best nurse in the world, my wife, at my side.  She has been a tremendous help so far and I cannot imagine going through this ordeal without her.  I am truly blessed.  My mom and step-father also made the trip to Colorado to help me during this journey and they have been a comfort and aid to both of us.

So in all reality, it looks like my 2013 season is over.  My goal is to be ready to compete against the world's best in October of this year.  This date marks the start of the 2014 season under the new PGA Tour schedule changes.  Since I will miss the entire 2013 season, I will apply for a Major Medical Exemption.  This will allow me to begin playing in October with the same status that I had going into the 2013 season.

I am excited about the journey ahead.  I am excited about the prospects of being pain free.  I am excited about battling the best players in the world with TWO hips rather than one.  I am excited about what God has in store for me.  The best has yet to come.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's Official...

It's official...I will undergo hip surgery tomorrow morning.  My procedure will take place at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado, by world-renowned Orthopedic Hip Surgeon, Dr. Marc Philippon.

After a MRI, X-rays, strength tests, and a Bio-Motion exam, it was determined by Dr. Philippon and his staff that I should undergo Hip Arthroscopy Surgery rather than a Total Hip Replacement.  This was certainly a relief because at my age, the idea of having a Total Hip Replaced is mind-blowing!  Dr. Philippon will remove the cyst, the bone spurs, shave and reshape my femur, and repair a torn labrum.  Prior to my appointment, I was aware of the cyst and bone spurs.  However, the torn labrum was definitely news to me and to be honest, I have no idea when it tore!  Regardless, I am happy and comfortable with the diagnosis and I am looking forward to getting healthy.

If you have time, Google Dr. Philippon.  You will find article after article of athletes who have flown to Colorado to receive his treatment.  Olympic athletes, Major League Baseball players, PGA Tour players, and hundreds of other athletes have trusted his hands and mind to fix their ailing bodies.  He is considered by many to be the best Hip Surgeon in the United States and one of the top in the World. So as you see...I am in good hands.

I am excited about my road to recovery.  God has a plan for me and I trust him.  I will keep everyone updated.  I am blessed to have the support of so many people.  Thank you...I will be back...I cannot wait!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

It's Time...

My week began as normal.  I wrote my weekly blog entry on Tuesday evening and recapped the trials and tribulations from the week prior.  The Humana Challenge was indeed...a challenge.  I talked about the difficulty in shaking off my winter rust and the confidence I had in the weeks and months ahead.  I spoke about how my family traveled from God's Country to spend the week with me in the desert.  The weather was perfect and it was certainly a nice change from their "everyday January."  The blog was ready to post but at the last minute...I chose to wait.

Why did I wait???  Well, to be honest...I waited because I had a hunch.  A hunch that unfortunately became reality.

After a frustrating round of golf on Thursday, I decided that it was in my best interest to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.  Once again you ask...Why?  Well, I withdrew because I decided that it was finally TIME.

On Monday morning at 8am, I have an appointment in Vail, Colorado, with the most renown and respected hip doctor in the United States.  Dr. Marc Philippon and his staff at The Steadman Clinic will run a series of Bio-Motion tests as well as a MRI to determine the future of my left hip.  If surgery (which seems very obvious to me) is necessary, I will go under the knife on Tuesday morning.

So what does this mean in regards to the 2013 Season?  I have no idea...I will find out on Monday.

There is good news however.  Dr. Philippon and his staff are the best of the best.  I will be in good hands and I will listen, trust and value their opinion.  They have repaired the hips of a countless number of professional athletes who have suffered from major ailments...some of which include Alex Rodriguez, Greg Norman, and Brandt Snedeker.  I spoke with Brandt on Friday morning and his recommendation and insight played a pivotal part in my decision to visit Dr. Philippon and his staff.

I will keep everyone updated.  Thank you as always for your continued support.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

So Here We Are...

So here we are.  The beginning of a new season, my 4th season, on the PGA Tour.  A season where once again…my expectations are high, my goals are lofty, and my acceptance for mediocrity is as usual…unacceptable.  I expect to succeed.  I will succeed.  However, my unwavering quest to succeed has never been, nor will it ever be, about fame or fortune.  I am a simple man.  A man who loves his family and the simple things in life.  I don’t ask or want the attention that so many athletes crave or desire.  I want only to conduct myself in a Godly manner, provide and care for my family, and help those who need it the most.  It’s simple.  Simple things for a simple man.  Nothing fancy.
My off-season flew by in a blink of an eye.  I was able to spend quality time with my family and, for the first time in a while, I was a hands-on Dad, Husband, and a few other unexpected but special titles.  One of my titles quickly stuck after I gladly traded in my option and freedom to go hunting every morning for the right and privilege to become Jake’s personal “Chauffeur” to school.  The best part of being a Chauffeur?  Our daily conversations.  The randomness and curiosity that fills the mind of a five year old is amazing.  It is simply this…pure innocence combined with a never-ending desire to learn.   I am so thankful that I was a part of this curious time in his life…and I could care less that I was just his “Chauffeur!”  I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.  The next title I earned this off-season was very sweet and one that I HOPE sticks forever.  My little girl Libby has quickly transformed herself into Cinderella.  Her Cinderella dress is her daily attire and it doesn’t matter where she is.  She wears it to restaurants, to Wal-Mart, to the Dentist, and anywhere else she goes.  She is no longer Libby…she is Cinderella.  And thankfully…her Daddy has become (by her choice) her “Prince Charming.”  Now I truly expect for this title to remain MY title for….OHHHHHH…lets just say…FOREVER.  I cringe at the thought of her growing up and having some little Punk pursue her…Blahhhhhhh (I just threw up)…NO CHANCE this happens.  So yes… I will GLADLY claim the title of “Prince Charming” and I refuse to EVER relinquish this title.  Good luck little Punks!
The beginning of my 2013 season took an unexpected and tragic delay.  In my three previous years on Tour, my routine has always been the same.  I fly to Palm Springs/La Quinta, California, (site of our tournament…the Humana Challenge) and practice for a week before I head over to Hawaii for the Sony Open.  My flights were booked and I was set to leave the great state of Georgia on January 2nd.  Unfortunately though, my plans were changed when we lost a special member of our family on December 31st.  My wife’s uncle lost his life in a tragic and freak accident while working on his farm in Swainsboro, Georgia.  He was an incredible Husband, Father, Pa, Uncle, Brother, and Friend to those who knew him.  He was an extremely hands-on Pa to his eight Grandkids and was a strong voice of wisdom for his Wife, three Children, and Sister (Beth’s Mom).  Our family was very close to Uncle Jim and his loss was a tough one to understand and swallow.  He will truly be missed.
So for obvious reasons, I canceled my flight to practice in Palm Springs the week prior to the Sony Open.  After the events that took place on December 31st, I decided to take to heart the unexpected and uninvited life lesson that God laid in my lap.  You see…I lost my father unexpectedly on April 11, 2004, and the passing of Uncle Jim was just another reminder that we are never promised tomorrow.  My job is great…I love it…it is the best.  However, at the end of the day…it is just a job.  With my job, I miss first words, first steps, and most first, second, and third of everything.  I decided that THIS time, I wasn’t going to miss a first time.  I gladly withdrew from the Sony Open to watch Jake play in his FIRST basketball game.  He was so proud to have me there and I was proud to be there!  Who needs Hawaii anyway?  It’s only Golf, right?  Absolutely…but to Jake…my attendance was more….it was everything!
So as I mentioned before…here we are.  The beginning of a new season, my 4th season, on the PGA Tour…at the Humana Challenge in La Quinta/Palm Springs, California.  I am proud to be here and I hope you will join me during my weekly adventures on Tour.  As usual though, I need your help…PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…send me any questions or comments that you may have.  I enjoy writing my blog as I have stated many times…not for me, but for my followers and my children.  I want these entries to be a journal of sorts for my children to read later in life.  But I need your help.  Birdies and Bogeys bore me beyond belief and I refuse to write a bunch of junk about myself.  So help me…help me create a journal that will be of interest to read.  I will, of course, bring you inside my life…my life inside the ropes.  I hope you enjoy my adventures.  God Bless each of you and remember…we are never promised tomorrow!  Please, go and hug the neck of your loved ones!