WIRRAL-based European Tour star Paul Waring is hoping 2016 will be a better year than 2015 proved.
Last season started really positively for the 30-year-old when he finished tied third at the Malaysia Open and won almost 150,000 Euros.
But the following month he picked up a shoulder injury in China that eventually forced him out of action for the rest of the season abd the first part of this year.
“I hit a lot of balls in practice in China as I’d just changed my driver so I was doing some new driver testing. I tried to hit a few a bit too hard and felt a bit of a pop and quite a lot of pain, but it settled down quite quickly and I managed to play the first round, but the pain was too much afterwards and I had to pull out.
“It was really frustrating after playing so well in Malaysia.
“The injury settled down again and I had a cortisone injection in the hope that I would be able to compete in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth – one of my favourite events.
“I could hit balls ok, but not at the full speed I wanted to so I had to pull out after my practice round and seek advice on what the injury actually was.”
He went for a 3T MR scan where a professor injected dye into the shoulder to help see what the problem was.
“It was when I had the scan results explained to me that I realised just how serious the injury was and that I needed an operation,” added the Bromborough attached pro.
“I was suffering with a posterior tear in the labrum (shoulder). It’s basically connective tissue that had a split in it. I knew straight away it was a major injury and was booked in a few weeks later at Alexandra Hospital, in Cheadle.
“My wife Claire and I had got married at the end of 2014 in St Andrews but hadn’t managed to get away so we went to Monaco as a delayed honeymoon before the surgery as I knew I wouldn’t be able to fly for a while once I’d had surgery.
“The operation was in late July and for a few months afterwards I couldn’t do anything except sit on the sofa and that was very tough for me mentally.
“Once it started to heal, everyday life was fine, but for a pro golfer it’s not a good injury to pick up and I was still unable to play any golf. The amount of load that goes through that part of the shoulder during a golf swing is massive.
“Now, more than five months after the op, I’ve just started to load bear at the gym, but there is still about another 10% of range I need to find before I can think about hitting a golf ball with a full swing.
“I’ve been chipping and putting and have done some pitching recently, but I don’t want to rush back and start hitting full shots just yet.
“I accepted the prognosis quite quickly and haven’t got too down in the dumps. I was out for 14 months with a wrist problem in 2011/12, it’s part and parcel of being a professional sportsman, you’re going to pick up injuries.”
Paul, who turned pro in 2007, was given an injury exemption for 2015 from the European Tour committee.
“My mindset is still very positive that I’ll be back to full fitness but it won’t be for another few months. I’m really keen to be fit for Wentworth in May and still hope that I might be ready earlier than that, but I will listen to advice from my doctor and physio.
“I don’t want to suffer a niggling shoulder injury for the rest of my career just because I came back a month early.
“It’s a chance for me to work on my game from a basic start point again and I’m actually hoping the injury may prove to be a blessing in disguise,” added Paul, who has just spent New Year in New York with Claire.
“My aim is to secure my card outright for 2017 from the half season this year. I do have the medical exemption so will be able to play some events in 2017 anyway but I want to improve my ranking.
“I’ve been watching a lot of the golf on TV and although it makes me wish I was out there competing, it’s been great to see my good mates Danny Willett and Andy Sullivan doing so well.”
The car enthusiast has been fortunate to have loyal support from his sponsors. “I’m in a two-year contract with Wilson and they’ve been brilliant with me. My corporate sponsor is Senator. Colin Mustoe has been so generous. He’s done so much for me over the years so I am very lucky of those fronts.
“I can’t wait to get back. Golf’s in great hands with the likes of Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson being real stars and I’m excited about getting back out on the course with them.”