HOUSTON — On top of windy and wet conditions, a field of hungry young guns, and Bermuda rough that will gobble a golf ball in a heartbeat, Cristie Kerr has something else she’s trying to manage during this week’s 75th U.S. Women’s Open — the pain from last week’s golf cart accident.
When is it too much? When should she take her doctor-prescribed meds? When will it most affect her golf swing? And when does she need to simply gut it out and play?
For someone facing this many questions, Kerr certainly seems on point. Through two rounds she sits in a tie for sixth place, five shots behind leader Hinako Shibuno as the field reached the tournament’s midpoint at Champions Golf Club.
But after Friday’s solid 69 — one in which she played bogey-free golf on the difficult Cypress Creek course — Kerr said keeping her focus on the simple things might be making all the difference.
Rather than worrying about the pressure of playing in a major tournament, Kerr seemed content to slide in under the radar, hoping the field is underestimating what she has at her disposal.
“I’ve definitely missed shots I would normally not miss because I’m in pain, but it’s actually, it’s kind of a nice mental place to be,” Kerr said. “I’m not happy how I got here, but maybe it’s meant to teach me a lesson, I don’t know. God moves in mysterious ways.”
On Thursday, Kerr broke into tears while discussing the crash, offering details into the incident at the Old American Golf Club. Kerr spent several hours in the emergency room that night, suffering knee, arm and hand contusions while caddie Matt Gelczis suffered from whiplash.
She’s dealing with three displaced ribs, as well, which is why she’s using doctor-prescribed meds to help cut the pain when it flares up. On Thursday, she said she took one mid-round.
On Friday, Kerr mentioned that she took one before she started play and then a half-dose while on the course. The two-time major champ said it doesn’t help her loosen up, but it does put her at ease.
“It doesn’t do anything to your golf swing. Maybe just mentally, you know you’re not going to be … it’s not going to be hurting a ton when you hit. But that’s the best answer I can give you,” she said. “You try to time it and space it so mentally you don’t get spacey on it.”
Of course, that’s the balance she needs to strike. If the pain is so great that Kerr can’t get through the ball, her play will suffer. But if she takes too many meds, she can easily lose her focus — or worse.
“You’ve got to be careful how much you take, as well. Like it can affect your breathing. But before with a full day … when I say one pill, it’s like a half of a normal dosage. Other people like would take, it’s like a 50-milligram pill of Tramadol,” she said. “It was a non-narcotic and now I don’t know where it sits on the list, but it’s doctor-approved and everything is fine, but that’s like half of a normal dose. Some people take 100-gram, so that’s a 50-gram pill, and then I just took a half on the golf course.”
Whatever line she’s walking, it seems to be working. Kerr posted birdies on Nos. 8 and 10, but played steady par golf the rest of the way, comfortably nestling her way into an eight-way tie for sixth.
She’s well within striking distance of Shibuno, who fired a 67 on Friday, and she wouldn’t have to leapfrog too many players if Shibuno started to fall — amateur Linn Grant is in second, just two shots ahead of Kerr.
Either way, she’s simply happy to be making a stand in what she called her favorite tournament.
“I mean, it definitely has lowered my expectations,” Kerr said. “I feel like I would have taken very high expectations and not gotten in the accident, but I guess that if you’re going to take something good away from it, I guess that’s one thing.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/11/cristie-kerr-pain-meds-us-womens-open/