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Greg Norman’s word of caution on Jason Day’s back injury

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With Jason Day skipping the Australian Open and resting his ailing back during the holiday season…and little else going on the world of professional golf at the moment, it seems a fitting time to dig into the 29-year-old’s status for 2017 and beyond, according to Greg Norman, at least.

Most recently reported as an annulus tear of a ligament (by Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard), Day’s back issues were presented to his fellow Aussie for comment.

Norman indicated that he believes the speed of Day’s hips during his downswing, which he called the “fastest in the game of golf today,” places a tremendous amount of stress on the golfer’s lower back. Coupling his all-out action with tireless practice sessions isn’t a good combination as Day gets older, Norman seemed to suggest.

You can see everything the 20-time PGA Tour winner had to say below (h/t Armchair Golf Blog).

The Shark’s remarks echo Brandel Chamblee’s take earlier this year about Day’s swing and the resistant lower body in the golf swing.

GolfWRX forum stalwart Monte Scheinblum offered a similar take in March, calling Day “another victim of restricting hip rotation.” The related thread Scheinblum started is 17 pages long and covers the range of perspectives on Day’s swing in particular and the modern Tour pro’s action in general.

See it here

Whatever the truth is physiologically, we can expect to hear much more about the issues above in the upcoming year — particularly if Day misses any time with injury.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. stephenf

    Feb 15, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Just watch the parade of players who have serious physical problems because of the stresses they put on themselves so they can hit a 6-iron 190 or 200 yards (or more), rather than simply clubbing up. It hardly ever results in shorter putts, which is the whole idea behind hitting a shorter iron into a green in the first place. Guys like Snead and Nicklaus understood that if you wanted longevity, you couldn’t go at everything in all-out crazy-time max-out mode all the time. Woods played his best golf when he was dialing back to that spot where the sufficient-distance curve met the max-control curve, but as soon as he would feel better, or sometimes for no reason at all, he’d be back to crazy-time again and hit it all over the yard. This generation of players is destroying their physical health (most of them, anyway). Hardly any of them are going to be playing well into their later years.

  2. Steve Wozeniak

    Jan 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Nope, not even close to why his back is hurting………easy fix, hope he listens……

    Steve Wozeniak PGA
    http://www.stevewozeniak.com

  3. mka

    Dec 30, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Technology has an impact on these injuries as well…as much or more so than the current trend to develop muscle mass for increased strength, or technique with both feet planted throughout the swing. This generation of golfers can swing as hard as they can at the golf ball because of those forgiving over-sized drivers.

  4. Jam

    Dec 29, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    I am 30 years old and around 25 or so I got into restricting my hip rotation back and really feeling as firm as possible in the my right leg and hip on the backswing. I played the best golf of my life (went from a 1 or 2 to shooting under par in tournaments) but have suffered from lower back pain ever since.

  5. Clay

    Dec 29, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Had ruptured disc, coupled with three operations. Playing since 12 and now 69. You never heal completely. Your range of motion is extremely retarded. Nerve damage is inevitable and pain is constant. I love the game and when I hang the clubs up I’m done, stick a fork in me. Jason will never be the same. Tiger will never reach any level near his potential had the back held up. Fred Couples is an example. Yes they will play but never as a world number one. Just a fact!????

  6. Jim

    Dec 29, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    The problem may be that these guys focus so much on building more and more muscle that they forget to improve their flexibility. Neglecting flexibility would cause there muscles/joints to undergo increased pressure as they do not have the range of motion they needed to prevent injuries from occurring

  7. Bob Jones

    Dec 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    I agree with this article. As someone who has had to radically change my golf swing to protect a back that has had three surgeries, I watch Jason Day and see that swing just tearing up his back. It will be telling to see how the other long drivers (McIlroy, Johnson) turn out later in life. Remember the reverse C finish that hurt so many players?

  8. Jamal

    Dec 29, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Overtraining isn’t just an issue in golf. It’s really an issue in all sports now. Athletes are training at younger ages for specific sports and it’s creating a lot more overuse injuries IMO. How long before we start seeing a backlash against gym rats in golf? Because golf is really about longevity. But then again, a good 3-5 year PGA tour run can set you for life, so you just have to balance the risks.

    • Grizz01

      Dec 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      I’m 53 years old. My Sr. in High School with the old ball and persimmon head I averaged 285 off the tee. I’ve always been an all out hit every shot with gusto guy. I still do and hit just over 300 on average with the new equipment.. I’m also someone who has been in the gym (for the most part) since I was 15. Gym rat is not the problem, in fact I think it has helped my game over the years to stay strong on the swing. These serious knee and back injuries that are coming out in recent years in golf and… with such young people (not 50’s and 60’s), I believe is due to PED’s. Their muscles are larger and faster in which their joints were never made to handle for a long term. Its already been pointed out that the golf swing is not a natural movement for the back. I believe it is these stresses on the body in these young men which are causes the problems. PGA Golfers are going to be limited on the type of PED’s they can use without it being obvious. Thus, HGH and other drugs that would help with ligiments and bone cannot be used in their world like it can in say… football.

      • Jamal

        Dec 30, 2016 at 1:34 pm

        PEDs and overtraining are strongly related in my eyes. Most PEDs are constructed so that you can work out longer and with more intensity. My point is that there is a happy medium with training and sports and these guys breaking down haven’t figured that out. Working out with heavy weights doesnt really give you any gains off the tee anyway.

  9. Charlie

    Dec 29, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I’m 70yrs+ and my backswing is way too short because of being inflexible and not allowing my hips to turn much. When I allow the hips to turn more I get too inconsistent in my ball striking. I’ve tried to fix that by practicing more but it did not help a bit. And yes, I do now suffer lower back problems. My 7-iron is now down to about 145yds – but it’s as crooked as ever.

  10. Progolfer

    Dec 28, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Norman is absolutely correct. There’s a trend happening in professional sports right now– an increased incidence of injury among athletes, and research is showing it’s from over-training. Tiger Woods hit it 30-50 yards longer 20 years ago, when he was scrawny and had far inferior equipment. Increased muscle mass doesn’t necessarily mean increased distance and performance!!

  11. K dawg

    Dec 28, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    LOL I love Brandel continually advising players to lift their heel off the ground to save their backs. Probably the single worst advice for your back would be to lift the heel and then slam it down. The players these days have stronger cores than their predecessors and are trying to stabilise their lower bodies which protects their back. If Jason Day added a heel of the ground to his swing his back would snap

    • Brian

      Dec 28, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      So you’re a kinesiologist?

    • NFX

      Dec 29, 2016 at 2:10 am

      Stronger cores? Based on what? Seeing these guys do a few golf swings perched atop of a swiss ball in the name of “improving core stability” ?? Ok guy

      Restricting the hips is a ridiculous thing that is gonna put many of these guys in traction

      • Tony

        Dec 29, 2016 at 5:13 am

        Their going past the for need traction, some are needing surgery on their discs. Nicklaus had back and hip problems throughout his career , so the golf swing has other issues. Compressing the spine while rotating it can’t be a good thing.

    • C

      Dec 29, 2016 at 8:45 am

      It IS easier on your back when lifting the heel.

    • JJVas

      Dec 29, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      In all but the most extreme cases, adding a small heel lift WOULD take some tension off the back. There really isn’t a sure-fire cure though. Golf is awful for backs… too much torque, compression, and constant twisting on an unnatural plane. Being in good shape and having core strength helps prevent injuries, but it’s normally all a wash because it also adds more speed and torque. The most back-friendly swing is the Ballard-esque swing because it imparts constant motion. The downside is that it restricts swing speed. So ask a 16-year old who’s already a +3 what they’d rather… 125 mph potential… or a swing that has a better chance of holding up past 35. There’s your answer.

    • Brandon

      Dec 29, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      This is the single dumbest thing I have ever read!!!! If that were really the truth, then athletes in other sports would be getting the same injuries to their backs. Baseball players, who swing a stick that weighs 3 to 4 times the weight of a golf club and do it above 90 mph would be broken all the time. Tennis Players wouldn’t make it through a tournament and Jamie Sadlowski and other Long Drivers would be in nursing homes right now. Greg Norman and Tom Watson had no problem contending for the Open as old men and guess what they do with their lead foot and one of them is known as the greatest all around driver of the golf ball the world has ever seen.

      Stabalization of the lower body wasn’t taught to protect the back, it was a theory that was believed to help keep the head centered. Yes it can be done without injury when you are hitting partial shots within 125 yards but the best way to stabilize the head is to move the body. Sam Sneed is a PERFECT EXAMPLE of a moving and shifting body with a centered head.

    • Bob Pegram

      Dec 30, 2016 at 3:04 am

      Would rolling the left foot inward rather than lifting the left heel be a good compromise? I realize a person’s natural flexibility is a factor. I stand up straighter and swing more upright. It seems to take stress off my back. I have always had a long swing.

      • Striker

        Dec 31, 2016 at 2:03 am

        A roll on the foot inward is just as good.. remember that Grout had Nicklaus roll his ankles before hitting balls

  12. Tony

    Dec 27, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Anuulus tear of a ligament, aka ruptured disk.

  13. Richard Grime

    Dec 27, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    I meant to say NOT practice the long game!

    • Jeffrey Purtell

      Dec 29, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      I thought your first comment didn’t make much sense. LOL.

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And with his latest tweet, he’s…exposing himself in a way we haven’t seen.

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Nothing like it, indeed.

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