COLUMBUS, Ohio – Arron Oberholser reluctantly withdrew from the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship on Wednesday and hinted that his professional career may be coming to an early end.
“My hand just can’t go,” he said. “It hurts on every swing. It hurts pitching the ball, depending on the type of motion I use. The whole hand is just achy, tired and sore to be honest with you, from the knuckles to the lower part of the wrist. I tried.”
The 38-year old Californian notified tournament officials he would not be back for his scheduled start on Thursday. He did, however, rejoin his amateur partners for the remainder of his pro-am following a late afternoon weather delay.
“I want to go back and finish with them,” he said. Unfortunately, it may be the end of the line for the 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am champion.
Oberholser has been sidelined by a myriad of wrist problems which put his career on hold for nearly five years as he struggled to recover from several surgeries. He won twice on the Web.com Tour in 2002 and graduated to the PGA TOUR in 2003, where he played nearly five and half years before his problems began. His best season came in 2006 when he made the cut in 20 of 23 starts, had 13 top-25 finishes and ended the year at No. 23 on the money list.
He returned to the Web.com Tour Finals series two weeks ago, hoping he was at full strength and able to resume his career.
He opened with a 6-under 66 in the first round of the Hotel Fitness Championship and followed up with a pair of 68’s that had him tied for third heading into the final round. A 73 on Sunday dropped him to T18.
“It’s very disappointing. Because of the way I played and how it felt for the first three days in Fort Wayne, I really thought I licked this thing,” he said. “I thought I was on my way back up to where I was and where I have been and that I was just continuing a journey with a minor five-year gap. Unfortunately, it might not work out that way.”
Oberholser’s encouraging start lasted only one week as he was also forced to withdraw prior to the start of last week’s Chiquita Classic in Charlotte.
“You wouldn’t think that one week would be ambitious,” he added. “I played well in Indiana and wasn’t thinking I was going to have a problem. Maybe three weeks in a row would have been ambitious for sure but I had to try it. You have to be able to play three weeks in a row and you definitely have to be able to play two in a row and I couldn’t even do that.”
The former San Jose State standout was left to ponder what the future might hold for him.
“I don’t know where I’m going to go from here. Home first of all to talk to the doctor and my wife and figure out if there’s anything else I can do,” he said. “I feel like I’ve pretty much exhausted all efforts and now it may be a matter of the “R” word (retirement). The forced R-word is looming over me more than ever now.”
Oberholser has branched into a part-time broadcasting career during his lengthy rehab, knowing that he might not ever fully recover to play regularly on the PGA TOUR.
“I’m fine with that. I’ve thought about that a lot and if that’s the case and I decide to do that (retire), then I’ll accept that,” he said. “There might be a little bitterness, I won’t lie about that. Five of my best years were taken away from me but it’s a professional sport and these kinds of things happen. I’m not the only guy that this has happened to.”