Uh Oh: Now Dufner Has Arthritic Neck
By Torleif Sorenson on 8/6/14
First, Dustin Johnson got caught using cocaine and is banished for six months. Then, Tiger Woods suffered another serious back injury — and nobody knows when he will next tee it up on the PGA Tour. (Your humble correspondent predicts that it will be late January of 2015.)
Now, ESPN's Bob Harig reports this morning that the defending PGA champion, Jason Dufner, is trying to play through a degenerative, arthitic neck problem. Dufner revealed that he underwent an epidural on July 28, which hampered his game at the WGC-Bridgestone and caused him to finish T-66 at +14 (294).
The latest problem is not only Dufner's ability to play well during the PGA Championship this week, but also to qualify for the Ryder Cup next month in Scotland. Dufner is currently 8th in the standings, but needs to remain at least 9th in order to punch his ticket to Gleneagles.
Credit to Dufner, he knows the task ahead of him and is being completely realistic:
"I'm not going to qualify if I don't make some points this week. I seriously doubt I would be a captain's selection with an injury if I didn't play. So, I kind of need to suck it up and make some points and try and get healthy.But if he doesn't, U.S. Ryder Cup team captain Tom Watson — for whom just about any golfer would want to play — is facing the very real prospect of evaluating even more prospects for his three wild-card selections, now that the 5th-ranked Johnson is gone and the 8th-ranked Dufner is questionable. This means that the 10th-ranked player on the Team USA points list (at this moment, it's Phil Mickelson) and possibly the 11th-ranked golfer (as of now, Keegan Bradley) might get in, after all.
Dufner is scheduled for a 10th tee-start at 8:45 a.m. EDT with two other previous PGA Champions, the aforementioned Bradley and Y.E. Yang.
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