Johannesburg - Rory McIlroy’s back injury during the SA Open Championship has raised concerns about how common this affliction is among golfers.
The Northern Irishman went through an excruciating injury during the third round of the South African Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club last Friday.
He lost in a gripping play-off to England’s Graeme Storm in the final round on Sunday.
McIlroy revealed that he tweaked his back in the third round of the tournament and received treatment. But he was unable to compete at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship currently being played in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, due to a rib injury – aggravated by his back issue.
A scan revealed that the world’s number two has a stress fracture to a rib and as a result he has been advised to stay out of action for some time.
He will miss the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club in Qatar starting from Thursday as well as the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club to be played in Dubai from February 2.
The back injury seems to be the most common among golfers.
According to Dr Shuaib Manjra, a sport physician based in Cape Town, the cause of the injury can be attributed to the swinging of a golf club.
“The biggest problem in golf is that a player hits a small golf ball using a heavy club and using strength,” explains Manjra.
“As a competitor, you subject your body to stress, meaning that the particular stress is then directed to your back which is quite fragile and this causes intense pain.”
Manjra cautioned that hitting a ball to make it travel at a high speed through the air, was dangerous as the players often “twist their backs or spines” while swinging, resulting in back injuries.
How can players prevent injuries?
“They should ensure that they are well conditioned in as far as strength and flexibility are concerned while taking those big swings,” said Manjra.
Besides McIlroy, some of the prominent players who have sustained back injuries in recent times are: South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Richard Sterne; Tiger Woods (USA); Jason Day (Australia); Justin Rose and Danny Willett (both from England) (see graphic).
McIlroy’s latest setback is also attributed to the number of shots he hits when testing new equipment.
Woods underwent surgery for a pinched nerve in his back in 2014 and 2015.