HOUSTON — Much like she did with her opening round at Champions Golf Club, Cristie Kerr got through about half of her post-round interview without overwhelming pain on Thursday.
But the pain eventually came.
When she started to recall the golf cart accident that nearly robbed her of an opportunity to play in the 75th U.S. Women’s Open, Kerr stopped to collect her thoughts and tears started streaming.
“Maybe I shouldn’t talk about it. I remember landing on my chest and it was awful. But I’m here and I played and I was tough today and I feel like I’m going to keep getting better every day,” she said through tears.
“God darn it, I’m going to do this. Sorry.”
Kerr shot a 71 in Thursday’s opening round, less than a week after the accident at the Old American Golf Club. The two-time major winner spent several hours in the emergency room that night, and was dealt knee, arm and hand contusions while her caddie Matt Gelczis got a bump on the head and suffered some whiplash.
When she talked through the incident on Thursday, after a solid round that put her well within striking distance of leader Amy Olson, Kerr was a little fuzzy on the accident’s details, but she remembered being cautious.
“I can’t remember whether I hit the steering wheel or not. Like I swear to God we were being careful. It was pitch black. No lights. There was a cart that was rounding the corner from the range and I could see that, because that cart had headlights and our cart did not,” she said. “I was using the flashlight to lead the way. We were going three-quarters of the speed. We were both out making sure we were on the path, and had to move over just a touch left to miss the other cart coming our direction. We just hit this thing smack on.
“We were both thrown from the cart, and I just I can’t remember. I remember landing, I remember the impact, and — I’m sorry.”
Kerr said she’s been getting cryotherapy one to two times a day and consistent therapy. She’s also been icing for two hours each morning and often in the evening, as well as taking anti-inflammatories and pain medications, all with the intent of playing in what she called her favorite tournament. As she tried to compensate for the pain, she even dislocated a few ribs.
She added that all the indicators earlier this week pointed against her taking part in the Women’s Open.
“If you would’ve told me on Monday that I would be playing today I would have said you were crazy,” she said. “I wasn’t really hopefully on Tuesday. I walked and chipped and putted around Jackrabbit, and then my caddie is like, ‘Let’s hit a 60-yard shot here and see what you got.’ I skulled two of them over the green because it hurt so bad.”
Kerr opened with a bogey on the Jackrabbit course on Thursday, but got back to even with a birdie on the par-4 No. 3, and played steady despite the pain, which she said is present, but manageable.
“On a scale of one to 10, it’s a six, which on Monday was like a 10 on a pain scale,” Kerr said. “A six I can deal with as long as I can keep my mobility. Like the therapists and cryo has really, really been working.
“I started out a little cautious with ball striking and then I got a little more confidence and re-upped on my pain medications in the middle of the round — all doctor approved, of course — and was able to start hitting it a lot better in the second nine.”
Kerr trails by four shots and now moves to the Cypress Creek course for the final three days of the event, knowing she’s got a fighting chance.
“We’ll see what happens,” she said. “But I’m not out of this.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/10/cristie-kerr-tears-up-us-womens-open/