Recently tabbed to replace Rory McIlroy on PGA TOUR Policy Board
A week after the Ryder Cup, Jordan Spieth re-injured his wrist while reaching for a toaster to make his son breakfast.
“Toast wasn’t even in the toaster,” Spieth said Tuesday at the Hero World Challenge, where he’ll make his first start since representing the U.S. Team in Italy.
It may have been a blessing in disguise: Spieth was diagnosed with ulnar nerve damage, which can impair movement or sensation in the wrist or hand. The symptoms compared to those of an ailment in May that he treated for inflammation as an acute wrist injury, and he realizes perhaps he misdiagnosed his springtime ailment. Per the MRIs both times, his pain and lack of mobility didn’t make sense.
“I wasn’t doing anything either time that I hurt it that should have caused what happened,” he said.
Spieth knows the ulnar nerve is “not anything to mess with,” and he has prepared carefully for his competitive return. He now feels in go-mode, he said Tuesday.
“It’s not really a rest or ice thing … it’s more, ‘Use it, don’t overuse it. Listen to it,’” Spieth said at the Hero. “But I’ve been at full practice for weeks now, and here or there when I feel like it gets close to being overdone … then I stay off of it. But I have no reservations on my abilities to just do what I need to do going forward, given the progress that’s been made over the last month and a half.”
Although he hasn’t been competing, Spieth’s time has been plenty occupied in recent months. Spieth and his wife Annie welcomed their second child, daughter Sophie, in September. Last week, Spieth replaced Rory McIlroy on the PGA TOUR Policy Board and will serve the remainder of McIlroy’s term through 2024.
“I think that this is a pivotal moment in time for professional golf and the PGA TOUR,” Spieth said of his appointment to the Policy Board, “and I felt like I could be of help.”
Spieth didn’t win on TOUR this year but said Tuesday that he feels that his game was better than times when he was won. The 30-year-old finished No. 27 on the 2023 FedExCup, notching seven top 10s in 22 starts including a runner-up at the RBC Heritage.
With a healthy wrist, Spieth is hopeful for bigger things in 2024.
Spieth’s forearm trouble date back to 2018, when he suffered a bone chip in his left hand, likely sustained during weightlifting. He refused to use it as an excuse but admitted in 2021 that surgery (which he opted against) would have likely been of use.
This year, he withdrew from his hometown AT&T Byron Nelson in May after feeling severe pain in his left wrist the previous weekend, with doctors recommending “rest and limited movement.” He returned to action at the following week’s PGA Championship, finishing T29, but admitted it took until July until he felt 100%. (Within that span, he finished T5 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday.)
Spieth was “shocked,” he said, when he reinjured the wrist.
“It just made no sense,” he said, “because I’m like, ‘What’s going to prevent this from happening at any other point in time?’”
Now, though, he sees the start of a new chapter.
He noted: “I don’t think I realized how limited or unable I was to hold certain forearm and wrist positions for a while when I originally injured it in 2018 until recently … and have actually started to, for the first time in a long time, match … positions that I’m trying to hit and how they feel to me and what they produce when I start to do them over and over again.
“Is that fully there this week? No. Is it very, very close? Am I doing it on the majority of swings? Yes. And it’s extremely exciting and it makes me think, you know, staying on top of this I can get to structurally doing what I need to be doing to be at my best.”
Source : PGA Tour