Clark tweaks back, hopes to play Houston Open

Clark tweaks back, hopes to play Houston Open
By: ESPN GOLF Posted On: March 27, 2024 View: 38

Reigning U.S. Open winner Wyndham Clark injured his back while working out at home Monday, but he hopes to play in this week's Texas Children's Houston Open, which starts Thursday at Memorial Park Golf Course.

Clark, the fourth-ranked golfer in the world, said he was lifting weights and "got caught in an awkward spot doing a lift and [his] back went."

"It's not something that happens regularly, but it happened and you live and you learn," Clark said. "I'm trending in the right direction. I'm hitting it or feeling stronger and more mobile every day. I'm going to give it my best effort tomorrow and hopefully I can play and compete. If not, I've got to get ready for tournaments to come after this."

His injury comes about two weeks before the start of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, the first major championship of the season.

Clark said his team of physical therapists flew to Houston on Tuesday to help him recover. He was able to play in a nine-hole pro-am on Wednesday.

"I was in pretty bad shape [Tuesday], but fortunately I have a great team that has gotten me to be able to swing and hit," Clark said. "I was only really able to chip and putt, then I did a bunch of rehab and I was able to hit balls today. So just in a short time I've improved a ton and I think I'll be ready for tomorrow."

In his most recent start at the Players Championship, Clark lost to world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler by one stroke -- after Clark's putt on the 72nd hole cruelly lipped out.

It was Clark's second straight runner-up finish to Scheffler; he was 5 strokes behind at the Arnold Palmer Invitational a week earlier.

"I really haven't tried to watch it much, to be honest," Clark said of the putt. "I've seen it a couple times. One time, I really looked at it and I was like, 'I still can't believe it didn't go in.'

"Yeah, I don't really want to focus on that as a negative. I played awesome that week. I clutched up at the end and hit really good shots on 16, 17 and 18. It's unfortunate I didn't make the putts on 16 and 18. All in all, it was an amazing finish. Traditionally, I haven't played great at that golf course. To come up just short honestly was a huge success."

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