Healing hands come up trumps on PGA Tour

Wed Feb 6, 2013 4:50pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Twice Masters champion Bernhard Langer has visited them on a regular basis, as have fellow former world number ones Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh.

Without their help, players such as American journeyman Kris Blanks and Australian left-hander Greg Chalmers would have been forced to pull out of several tournaments in which they ended up faring well.

The people in question are the five physical therapists and four athletic trainers who ply their trade on a daily basis on the PGA Tour and its senior equivalent, the Champions Tour.

"Almost everybody on tour walks through our door at some point during the season," PGA Tour physical therapist Jeff Hendra told Reuters. "I always tell people we have three groups of golfers on tour.

"Our regulars come in every day regardless. Whether they have an injury, an ache or pain or if they are as healthy as they can be, they are in. And they are the guys that I love because they stay on top of things.

"They do what we call pre-hab. They do the work before they get injured. So when they do get injured, we know them very well, we know their bodies. We know how they move, where their restrictions are."

Hendra said the second group of players visited the state-of-the-art clinical trailer, which has become a permanent fixture at every PGA Tour event, only when they were injured while a handful very rarely made an appearance.

Without the help of Hendra and his co-workers, scores of players would almost certainly have been forced to withdraw from events because of back trouble, shoulder injuries, hand and knee problems or various other ailments over the past decade.   Continued...

U.S. golfer Tiger Woods holds the trophy after winning the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, California January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake