Defending Valspar Championship winner Charl Schwartzel was just doing what pros normally do on the Wednesday before a tournament begins by playing in the pro-am event when he suffered a fairly freakish injury.
Schwartzel’s group was on their 1st hole and his amateur playing partner hit his drive left of the fairway. The amateur’s next shot hit a tree and went flying towards Schwartzel who instinctively covered his crotch. Unfortunately the ball smacked into his left wrist.
“I’ve played golf for 28 years now and I’ve never been hit by a golf ball, until this morning,” Schwartzel said. “It was a bit of a fluke. Really bad luck.”
Schwartzel said his hand went numb and the wrist instantly began to swell but he soldiered on and played nine more holes before calling it a day.
“I never pulled out of a tournament with an injury after I’ve started. I’m planning on playing, whether I have to limp around or not, I’ll tee off,” he said. “I just hope it’s not something serious because I feel like I’m playing really well and I want to play. I don’t want to now have to sit out because of this silly injury.”
Schwartzel said his playing partner felt really bad and apologized many times.
“He feels very bad. But you know, it’s not his fault,” Schwartzel said. “He hit it forward, it hit the tree and it came bouncing back at some speed. I’m just happy, it was going for my private parts and hit a little stop. I think I’ve got better on my reflexes.”
Despite the injury, the South African is still playing in the tournament but this brings up a very good time to mention that pro-am events are a waste. PGA Tour pros shouldn’t have to play with amateurs who are going to hack their way around a course just because they put up large amounts of money.
I get that it’s a cool opportunity for a regular Joe to tee it up with the likes of Rory McIlroy and a lot of the amateurs that play in these events aren’t hacks, but a lot of them start their party early and it’s amazing that these types of things don’t happen a lot more often.
Schwartzel is currently one-under. He trails leader Jim Herman by eight strokes.