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Local Doctors Lend Support to Keep Golfers Well During U.S. Open

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PINEHURST — Golfers in town for the1999 U.S. Openare in good hands, medically speaking. Realizing the slightest injury can impact their million dollar strokes, thePGAhas formed a team of local doctors and sports medicine specialists to deal with the aches and pains of the game.

Golf is not the most physically demanding sport, but people playing on the pro tour still get injuries that can impact their game.

Raleigh golfer Scott Hoch, for instance, is dealing with some kind of foot pain.

"I haven't done anything to it," he says. "It's just something that came on. It's bothering me enough today where I had to cut my practice short."

That is where Cary's Dr. Brian Szura comes in. The sports medicine specialist has been selected to staff the PGA rehabilitation van while it is in Pinehurst.

"This is the first time I've covered or been available for a major golf tournament," says Szura, who is on hand to care for major injuries like ankle sprains and fractures.

A pair of physical therapists who travel from event to event handle minor maladies that are par for the course with pro golfers.

"They come in with acute injuries. A lot of times they have chronic problems. Low back strain and cervical strains are quite common," explains Szura.

Former U.S. Open champion Andy North says golfers like the fact that they have the medical staff to help them out. He especially likes that the two physical therapists follow the players from event to event.

"When I first started the tour, if you had a problem, you went to someone in some town. They'd never seen you before, and they didn't have any idea what your problems are other than what you have that time. These guys see the same people week after week after week, and it's a consistent and constant service for us."

Before each first round, the golfers crowd into the van for massages to loosen up. Similar vans are available for other professional golf tours.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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