Thank goodness for the NHL playoffs. It’s the only thing keeping Taylor Pendrith from climbing the walls these days.
Pendrith, a devoted Maple Leafs fan, has been trying to fill his time since the final round of the Players Championship in March when he suffered a broken rib. That put him on the shelf just as he was enjoying a stretch of good play, highlighted by a tie for 13th at TPC Sawgrass.
“It’s super frustrating,” he said from his Florida home. “I was coming off three nice weeks in a row and getting some momentum heading into the summer. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about it right now.”
Injuries are nothing new to the Richmond Hill, Ont., product, who has battled wrist and shoulder ailments as well as one to his forearm. Then there was the unusual injury to his palm that prevented him from holding a golf club for four months.
“Nope, it sucks,” answered Pendrith when asked if he was used to being on the injury list. “It doesn’t get any easier any time you’re away from the game.”
The rib fracture was another rather obscure one. While warming up on the range ahead of the completion of the third round of the Players, Pendrith felt a twinge in his back. He assumed it was a muscle pull triggered by the miserable weather and went out to finish the round.
He headed for the physiotherapy trailer after walking off the 18th green to try and get some relief but when he woke up the next morning, found his back to be in more pain. Still, he managed a three-under 69. The next day, X-rays revealed the facture.
Since then, he’s been trying to keep busy and avoid any task where he has to rotate. That includes a simple cough or sneeze, which bring on the pain.
“I’ve really just been relaxing and riding the Peloton,” he said. “My wife and I went to Denver just so we weren’t looking at the same four walls in our house.”
Originally, the 30-year-old was targeting this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson Classic for a return. Two weeks ago, he began hitting wedges and putting, and moved up to full swings, taking about 20 just to test things out. The first day felt good but on his second time out he felt some pain in the area of the rib and stopped immediately.
Another X-ray showed that while his rib his healing, it still had a way to go, so the clubs went back into the garage. His doctor has told him it will be 12 weeks before he’s fully healed.
Now Pendrith is targeting a return at the RBC Canadian Open, which runs June 6-12.
“It would be nice to have four really solid rounds,” he said of his goal for the national championship at St. George’s Golf and Country Club.” It would just be great to get out and compete and then play the rest of the season. There’s still lots of golf left.”
Until then, it’s back to the playoffs. On Thursday, Pendrith was heading to Tampa for Game 6 of the Leafs-Lightning series, hoping to see his team get a first-round win for the first time in 18 years.
Whether it’s his favourite team or his latest injury, it seems Pendrith is getting used to being patient.