Wetterich's long road back could take happy turn at Disneytext sizeNovember 13, 2010
Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM Site Producer
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Just four years ago, Brett Wetterich was 21st in the Official World Golf Ranking, a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team and a few months removed from his first career win on the PGA TOUR.
Since then? He's been in proverbial hell.
First it was an injury to his shoulder, then right wrist -- the latter of which caused him to miss most of 2008 and all of 2009, which resulted in a major medical extension for this season.
"I was playing good, and then the whole '08 year was just a disaster," Wetterich said. "Then '09 was a total waste."
Wetterich, now 542nd in the world, is finally healthy, though, and he has chance to cure all the aches and pains of the past few years. He's tied for third at the Children's Miracle Network Classic after a 68 Saturday and if he can finish solo third or better, he'll earn enough money to fulfill his major medical extension and he will be exempt for 2011. If not, he still has one start next year to reach that number.
Of course, had Wetterich not gotten sick and missed the Frys.com Open, this would have been his final start under the major medical. Instead, he'll get one more start in 2011 -- if needs it -- and should he reach the number he needed, $731,077, in the last of those 17 starts, he'll be exempt for all of next year.
Had Wetterich reached that number in 17 starts prior to playing at Disney, and not otherwise qualified for a TOUR card by finishing in the top 125 or through q-school, he would have only been exempt for the remainder of this season.
"No, there's no design in terms of that," Wetterich said. "I've never been accused [of being that smart]. It just happened to work out that way. "
Wetterich doesn't care about any of that, though. He's just happy to be healthy, especially after watching this year's Ryder Cup from the couch. Who could blame him for having mixed feelings?
"It's been nice to be able to come out and, one, just to be able to play again, and two, to not worry about injuries and stuff," Wetterich said.
And when he has played, he's played well, at least in spurts. Wetterich tied for 13th at the Valero Texas Open then put together good back-to-back weeks with a tie for 21st at The Greenbrier Classic and a tie for 16th at the Turning Stone Resort Championship. Last month in Mississippi, he tied for eighth at the Viking Classic for his best finish of the season.
It wasn't long ago that was the norm for Wetterich. From 2006-'07, he had 10 top-10s, which included four runner-up finishes. But that was the last time Wetterich would be healthy until this year and the last time he was in the position he'll be in Sunday at Disney.
In 2008, Wetterich was bothered by a shoulder injury then sidelined with a wrist injury. He made just 11 starts and shut his season down after the Memorial tournament presented by Morgan Stanley.
"It was good there for a couple years, and I finally got to where I wanted to be and playing really consistent out here," Wetterich said.
Now Wetterich is again back to where he wants to be, almost.
"I mean one week I got it, one week I don't, it seems like," Wetterich said. "I haven't really done anything great, just everything okay. It's worked out all right at some tournaments. Some it hasn't."
With one more good round, it just might work out.