PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Dudley Hart, a 7?under 65 in round one. With that being said, we know you’ve got your major medical, you’re trying to accomplish the goal there. So how much does a round like this mean to you today?
DUDLEY HART: It means a lot. I don’t really think about the medical part of it, to be honest with you. It’s nice to be (back.) I’ve had two months of decent amount of practice and no physical issues. I’ve had a heck of a time with my back over the last four years. Two spinal fusion surgeries and screws all over the place in there, so it’s nice just to get back and get in a groove and feel like I can start moving in the right direction with my golf game.
I hit a lot of nice shots today. Could have been better, could have been worse. But I gave myself a lot of good opportunities and it’s ?? more importantly, it’s nice to know that I can hold up and hopefully, I’ll continue to hold up and that I still got a little decent golf in me being an old broken down pro.
THE MODERATOR: What are you most confident with? What part of your game did you feel was clicking the best?
DUDLEY HART: I think my iron play was pretty solid today. I really hit a bunch of greens. Two of the greens I think I missed were on the fringe. I wasn’t ?? sometimes you hit a lot of greens and hit it 30 feet.
But I had a lot of really good opportunities and pretty much hit the ball where I was looking, for the most part. It wasn’t perfect but my misses were pretty solid still. So that’s been real encouraging. I feel like I’ve been moving?? stuff I’ve been working on with my game and being able to practice helps. And I’m moving in the right direction with that.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Could you just go back to when your back problems started and give us a brief synopsis.
DUDLEY HART: Sure, it was awhile ago. I believe it was 2009. The year before, I had one of my better years, finished Top?30 and I went down to Florida. I live in buffalo, smart guy, and went down to Florida to practice before the season, and I had had some problems with may back, but nothing major. I herniated a disk in the 2000 British Open was the first time I ever had a problem. Managed it pretty well for 10 years after that pretty much.
I had a real hard time that off season and then the beginning of 2009, and to be honest, I never had it looked at and didn’t want to have it looked at. I was in the Majors and especially the Masters, I have ?? at the time, now I have four kids now, but at the time I had triplets and they were old enough to maybe remember.
And I’m, in the Masters, I’m ?? I knew something was wrong ?? so a long story short, I went and got a MRI after the Masters and found out that I had no disk left at my L5 S?1 and first doctor said, well, just don’t play golf anymore and I’m like, okay, don’t be a doctor. I’m not really qualified to do anything else, maybe flip hamburgers somewhere.
So I finally came to the conclusion that if I wanted to play, I had to have a fusion. So I had a fusion done, spun my wheels for a couple years, and had more problems after the first one. I finally went and saw another doctor, hindsight I probably put a little too much faith in the first guy, but found out the first surgery wasn’t done properly. There was a screw that was not in one of the vertebras on one side, and one screw too far went into my psoas muscle, whatever that is, and it didn’t fuse so I had to have it all?? I had to start all over.
I went to the hospital for a special surgery after that, Dr. Cammisa, he did an unbelievable job and I’ve been ?? I still had some issues.
It’s been a long road coming back and finding the most frustrating thing is there’s no book to look at and say, okay, if you have this done and you want to play golf, this is what you have to do.
So there’s ?? there was a process where you try things and you go to different people and finding what you need to do to get yourself to be able to play at a consistent level is difficult. I think I have found, hopefully, I don’t want to jinx myself, but I found the right formula where I can at least practice, hit balls for an hour or so a day and hit, putt, and chip. I can put four hours of practice in in a day and be fine. So, that’s where we’re at now.
Q. I know you said you don’t normally think about the medical, but you don’t have a whole lot of tournaments left.
DUDLEY HART: Sure.
Q. Does that weigh on you at all?
DUDLEY HART: No. Not really. If the more I think about it, the less chance I have to play well, for one. I told Jim outside, I said, I’m pretty realistic guy, I’m 46 years old, I’ve had two back surgeries. I said I know my better days on this TOUR are probably behind me somewhere, and I’m hoping to be able to play and keep and just keep a normal amount of competitiveness up and hopefully, I can play some good golf and keep my card and go from there.
But I’m a broken down guy, playing against young kids with flat bellies and it’s ?? I know the odds are against me, but I’m going to keep grinding away and work hard and go out there and do the best I can.
THE MODERATOR: Well Dudley, great round today. Appreciate your time.
DUDLEY HART: All right. Thank you.
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Interview and Video courtesy of www. pgatour.com and www.asapsports.com