WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – With four bulging discs in his back, Marc Leishman didn’t need any further injuries to make it uncomfortable to play golf. He got one anyway. The timing couldn’t have been worse.
Leishman felt his cranky back seizing up on him Wednesday morning before playing in the pro-am for the PGA Tour season opener, A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier. That was bad enough. Then, on the fifth hole of the pro-am, one of his playing partners inadvertently nailed him in the right side of his lower back with an errant approach shot.
Apparently, the accident was a result of a miscommunication. Leishman thought the player had picked up after several strokes on the short par-4 hole. But he hadn’t. Leishman still wasn’t quite in the line of play when a ball came whizzing at him from about 100 yards away.
“I can’t blame anything I did today on that,” Leishman said charitably. “But it did hurt at the time.”
It wasn’t as painful as his opening round on the Old White TPC Course. Leishman carded a six-over 76 that included a triple bogey on the par-4 16th hole. Ranked 24th in the world, the second-highest ranked player in the field behind No. 10 Bryson DeChambeau, Leishman found himself last in the 156-player field.
“I was good until yesterday,” said the lanky Australian. “This is frustrating, yeah. I was looking forward to getting the season off to a good start.”
Leishman added that he did not intend to withdraw. “I’m going to give it a go,” he said. “I’m here to play, so I’ll try to play.”