Hero World Challenge
Jordan Spieth reveals one of the weirdest injuries suffered by a pro athlete
Jordan Spieth speaks to the media during his pre-tournament media conference prior to the Hero World Challenge.
NASSAU, Bahamas — So, now we can add toast-making to the list of perilous activities that can lead to injury for a professional golfer.
Jim Furyk once wrenched his neck tossing back a couple of Advil. David Duval burned his hand boiling hot water for tea. Geoff Ogilvy cut his hand on coral exiting the ocean after a swim in Maui.
Jordan Spieth, one of the 20 players in this week’s $4.5 million Hero World Challenge, reinjured his left wrist at home in Dallas after the Ryder Cup. It was while doing the most mundane task.
“I was very shocked when I reinjured it,” Spieth said Tuesday at Albany Club. “I was reaching for a toaster to make my son breakfast and I was just supporting it on the shelf.”
Boom. He had to shut down practice for a couple of weeks. Spieth originally injured his wrist in 2018, and the problem flared up again in May prior to the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. It turns out that the problem stems from an issue with his ulnar nerve that radiates from his shoulder down to his hand.
“I wasn't doing anything either time that I hurt it that should have caused what happened,” added Spieth, 30, who won the Hero in 2013. “Both MRIs were very similar and shouldn't have been in the pain and lack of mobility that I had initially after it happened. It didn't make a whole lot of sense off the MRIs, and so then just did a bunch of tests and some work. Turns out it was my ulnar nerve, which is not anything to mess with, so I've been trying to take it very, very carefully.
“It [his wrist] took the fall for other things that were off, and it just made no sense because I'm like, ‘What's going to prevent this from happening at any other point in time?’ And now I'm out two-plus weeks, so I feel good about that not being the case going forward.”
Getting a proper diagnosis has Spieth optimistic about his game going forward, provided he manages the issue properly as far as maintaining flexibility and managing workouts or practice. With his wrist gaining strength, he is able to support the club better throughout his swing.
“There are wrist positions, timing elements, where you do want to look back and say this was a weapon for me when I set the club this way,” he explained. “I don't think I realized how limited or unable I was to hold certain forearm and wrist positions for a while when I originally injured it in 2018 until recently when I've been on top of it, and have actually started to for the first time in a long time match swings … or at least positions that I'm trying to hit and how they feel to me and what they produce when I start to do them over and over again.
“Is that fully there this week? No. Is it very, very close? Am I doing it on the majority of swings? Yes. And it's extremely exciting and it makes me think, you know, staying on top of this I can get to structurally doing what I need to be doing to be at my best.”
Spieth, ranked 16th in the world, is gearing up for a busy year in 2024. He agreed to take over for Rory McIlory on the PGA Tour Policy Board after McIlroy decided to vacate his seat for the remaining year of his term. Spieth, in fact, volunteered for the role, provided it was understood that he would do so for just one year.
The Texas native, winner of 13 tour titles, including three majors, but without a victory in 2023, said he has been fairly heavily involved in tour affairs since June, when commissioner Jay Monahan announced the framework agreement with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. He has been in the loop on calls and meetings and was not going to need a lot of time to get up to speed on the tour’s negotiations with PIF and other potential investors.
“If it requires a little bit more time and that takes away from time other places temporarily, seems like a very important time to do so right now,” Spieth said. “It's nice because it's not a full term, which I had said that I wasn't interested in for the time being given two little ones now and trying to get my game where I want it. But I think that this is a pivotal moment in time for professional golf and the PGA TOUR and I felt like I could be of help.”