Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA champion, will undergo surgery Thursday to repair damage to the C-6 and -7 vertebrae, according to Gaylord Sports Management, the company that represents him.
Beem, 39, started feeling pain in his back last Thursday and had some treatment but the pain flared again. An MRI Sunday revealed the damage and his neurosurgeon recommended surgery. The surgery will be performed in Austin, Texas.
Beem began feeling numbness in his upper back late last year, and has experienced diminished strength in his right arm. He withdrew from the Honda Classic in early March due to shoulder pain that may have been related to the disc problem.
“I can’t say that for sure,” said Beem. “What I can say is I’m looking at some time off now.”
The doctor has told Beem that after surgery he’s to rest for three weeks before chipping and putting and he’ll need another three weeks after that before he begins hitting full shots. The date of his return to the tour is uncertain.
Beem, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, has played in nine events this season, making four cuts and earning $128,877. His best finish was a tie for 14th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February.