AFTER being unable to complete his third event on the trot – he managed just 19 holes in the British Masters after already retiring from the European Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the two previous weeks – it was time for Chris Doak to offer an explanation.
“It’s a nerve problem in the left arm, which leads to my little finger and the ring finger going numb,” revealed the 37-year-old, who’d previously made just the occasional comment on Twitter about what had clearly become a serious problem. “That means I’ve lost nearly half my left-hand grip on the club.”
With that obvious restriction, Doak started his second round on the Marquess’ Course at Woburn with a triple-bogey 7, having set out on a sunny morning in Bedfordshire down at the foot of the leaderboard following an opening 78.
Initially, Doak wanted to keep the problem quiet, but he decided to speak about it to be fair to tournament sponsors and organisers by explaining what it is. “It started on the Saturday of the Italian Open a month ago when I woke up and was sleeping with one arm under my body,” added the Livingston-based player, who mistakenly disqualified himself in that event for thinking he had played the wrong type of ball. “The physios have been great, but the only cure is rest and time, and I don’t have time because of the position I’m in in the Race to Dubai.”
He came into this event 159th in the standings and now has just the Portugal Masters and Hong Kong Open to climb into the top 111, which is likely to be the cut-off for those retaining cards for next season. He added: “I’m not even in the top 145 for the final of the Qualifying School, so I’m looking to have to go to the second stage, which is the week after Hong Kong.”
Doak finished 101st on the money list in 2013 before climbing to 71st 12 months ago.
“If I can play Portugal and I’m still out of the top 145, it looks like the second stage because I wouldn’t have a category and would have to depend on invitations next season,” he said.
“I think I’m too late for a medical exemption, having played 13 events.”