PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA (AP) — For the first time since January, Webb Simpson strolled onto the range at his home club in Charlotte, North Carolina, to hit golf balls. The seven-time PGA Tour winner had been out since the Sony Open due to a bulging disc in his neck, but his doctors had finally cleared him to resume hitting.
“I was very terrified,” Simpson joked at TPC Sawgrass on Monday. “I was thinking, ‘Man, this feels wonderful’ after my first session on the range.”
It was also nice to be practicing for a tournament in March rather than April or May. That was the diagnosis at the time.
“It was difficult to receive the news because at first they said eight weeks, then they said maybe four to six [weeks], and then they discovered I have access to my trainer, who is conducting my rehab for me, and they said The Players is a feasible option,” he said.
Simpson admitted that his rehabilitation has been sluggish and that he is currently on a “pitch count.” Last week, he hit balls three times but was confined to only 40 strokes per session. He increased that total to 50 shots on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass, and on Monday, he finally played a nine-hole practice round with Bubba Watson and Cameron Young.
Simpson, who was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his neck, stated, “I felt like we had a game plan built in now that we’re going to manage it and the surgeon indicated it can fully regress and I can play pain free.”
According to Simpson, the rehabilitation process includes 30 minutes of traction therapy three times a day to create space between the discs and strengthening exercises.
“If we were in the gym and you saw me, you’d believe that person wasn’t even working out,” he explained. “It was really tiresome work, and you had to exercise caution.”
The ambition to compete in The Players, which he won last year, gave significance to the everyday.
“It gave me a target to aim for and work toward.” “I adore this area, so let’s do everything we can to prepare between now and then,” Simpson added. “It would have been nearly too long if he had mentioned Augusta [for a targeted return].” “I thought a month was manageable.”
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