The Loop

USC's Lovemark out for NCAAs with cracked rib

*Post update: 10:55 p.m.

USC junior Jamie Lovemark will miss next week's NCAA Championship after a bone scan performed earlier this week revealed that in addition to a torn oblique muscle the 2007 NCAA individual champion also has a cracked rib, according to USC director of golf Kurt Schuette.

"It's not the way he wanted to end the year," said Trojan men's coach Chris Zambri Wednesday night. "He's pretty disappointed, as you can imagine."

Zambri said that Lovemark has been instructed to rest for a month to let the fracture heal. The 21-year-old from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., was to play for the U.S. team in the Palmer Cup the first week of June but the injury will force him to miss that event as well. Any thought of trying to qualify for next month's U.S. Open also is over.

Lovemark suffered the injury swinging a driver during practice before the NCAA West Regional two weeks ago. Acording to Zambri, the fracture on the right side of Lovemark's body is believed to have occurred simply through the repetative motion of swinging the golf club. While relatively rare with golfers, the injury happens from time to time with baseball players.

Interestingly, UCLA men's coach Derek Freeman suffered the same kind of injury when he was playing competitive golf. Unfortunately, it took a year for him to fully heal.

Lovemark traveled with the the Trojans to Lake Merced GC in Daly City, Calif., for the West Regional, but sat at the practice round hoping the rest would help him get through the 54-hole competition. He shot a 76-83 in the first two rounds but had to sit out of the final round.

Cracking a rib from swinging a golf club would see to be a bit of a fluke, although Schuette said that it's an injury that happens from time to time with baseball players.

To replace Lovemark in the lineup heading to Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, Zambri will take Ryan Linton. The senior played in six tournaments this season for USC, posting one top-20 finish and a 75.22 average. He also started for USC at the NCAA Preview at Inverness last September, where he finished T-49.

This is not the first injury to sideline Lovemark during the 2008-08 season. In February, he broke his left pinky finger playing pick-up basketball and missed two tournaments.