Despite Nagging Injury, Clark Feels Good Enough to Defend Players Title
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Clark looks to defend at The Players

Tim Clark figures he’s about 70-80% healthy, but considering he’s been benched for most of the season, he’s just looking forward to playing golf. Since his second-place finish at the Sony Open in January he’s been struggling with tendinitis in his right elbow. While he showed up for the Masters, he only played because, well, it was the Masters. Just two weeks ago, Clark wasn’t sure if he’d be able to defend his title at The Players this week.

“I’m feeling a lot better,” said Clark during his press conference on Wednesday morning at TPC Sawgrass. “Over the last few weeks, I’ve finally seen some improvement. For a long time it just seemed like it was never going to end. So the improvement I’ve felt over the last few weeks has given me some encouragement and I’m feeling more upbeat about it.”

Clark can’t pinpoint what exactly caused the injury. After flying home from Hawaii, he planned to play at the Bob Hope Classic the following week, but he woke up to severe pain in his arm on Tuesday. He originally thought perhaps he lifted a bag at the airport, but then he realized he didn’t hit the ball particularly well at the Sony Open. He thinks the injury had been developing for some time and playing 36 holes the final day at Waialae aggravated it.

He’s been receiving treatment, including soft tissue therapy and acupuncture, but the best medicine has been rest. Since missing the cut at the Masters, Clark didn’t hit balls until last Saturday at Quail Hollow Club. He’s not worried about finding his game, though.

“I feel like once I’m sort of healthy, the game will always come back,” he said. “Even if I don’t do a whole lot of practice, I feel like it’s still there. Just the few balls I hit yesterday, I was hitting it really good and not concerned about the game itself. It’s more really about the injury.”

Clark is more frustrated with the uncertainty involved in the healing process, which any competitor who has battled injury can understand.

“You have moments where you wonder if you are going to get better, but at this point I feel like I’m in the right direction now and pretty positive that within a couple of months I’ll be back to 100 percent,” he said.

There’s one silver lining — Clark and his wife Candice had their first baby five weeks ago.

“I’ve been able to spend some time at home with the newborn and my wife, so that’s certainly been nice,” said Clark. “But yeah, it’s really frustrating not to be able to come out to tournaments and play.”