TL 14

Tom LaFountain

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The atmosphere and demands of the Ryder Cup in Paris, France offered a unique challenge to the PGA golfer as well as the sports medicine staff. The PGA golfer is presented with an opportunity to play on a team. The first two days of the event the golfer will partner with another teammate in a best ball or alternate shot format. Sharing playing strategy and using a teammate's golf ball as opposed to your own is a totally different format from what they are accustomed to on the PGA Tour. It is a privilege they have earned and their enthusiasm is evident but it is not always an easy adjustment physically and psychologically. The international interest that the Ryder Cup brings adds to the pressure on each PGA golfer. This year it was additionally stressful for the American golfers since Le Golf Nationale was set up biased towards the European team. All of these factors challenge the psychological component to playing golf on a level many golfers have never experienced.

In a similar regard there is a great deal of pressure on the sports medicine staff at the Ryder Cup. First of all the event pairs off 12 United States golfers against 12 European golfers. It would be difficult to contemplate losing a U.S. golfer to injury and not having them able to play. With only 12 golfers on each team each golfer is significant to the tournament's outcome. Any physical impairments or injuries must be evaluated correctly and an efficient treatment regime implemented. The golfers will play daily, frequently twice a day, and the event is only three days in duration. There is no time for faulty assessment procedures or delayed treatment responses. It is of enormous benefit for the chiropractor or physical therapist to be skilled to read responses to their treatments as they perform their manual procedures at the time they are given, not the next day. Assessing and re-assessing the body's response as you treat the PGA golfer increases the probability of alleviating or minimizing symptoms and improving body movement patterns quickly.

It is precisely why Professional Sports Care's Clinical Golf Program emphasizes a comprehensive assessment and treatment approach when working with PGA and Champions Tour golfers. As advanced procedures expand the sports medicine specialist's skill set, focus should then shift to implementing these procedures in the most time expedient manner. The atmosphere of the Ryder Cup challenges the chiropractor's and physical therapist's knowledge and ability to implement assessment information and treatment protocol as quick as possible so as to not disrupt the PGA golfer's performance. 

The 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, France was my tenth Ryder Cup and each one has been an exhilarating experience due to the demand it places on you as an individual. It challenges your knowledge and puts you on the spot. A great responsibility - a great feeling - win or lose!


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