Love targets spring return after spinal surgery

Davis Love III
Davis Love III ( USGA )

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Davis Love III finally got rid of the pain in his neck.

The 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, a 20-time winner on the PGA Tour, was back home in Sea Island, Ga., practicing his putting two days after spinal surgery Feb. 8. The operation removed bone spurs and a disk that were pressing on nerves between his C5-6 and C6-7 vertebrae, said his longtime manager, Mac Barnhardt. The procedure – performed by Dr. Regis Haid Jr. at Atlanta Brain and Spine Care Center – also fused Love's upper spine with a titanium plate and spacers to fix an ailment that he has had periodically since 2000.

Haid told Love, 48, that his recovery will take 6-8 weeks, but Barnhardt said it likely would be 10-12 weeks, which might mean a May return.

“He’s been in pain for so long, he’s glad to be out of pain,” said Barnhardt, adding Love will begin working out full bore once sutures are removed about 10 days after the surgery. “He sounds the best he has in years. It was just a wear-and-tear situation. Pretty much anyone over 45 who plays golf for a living has bulging disks.”