By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Tim Clark is recovering from surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right elbow.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Thomas Graham on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at the Cleveland Clinic. The former PLAYERS champion said in a telephone interview on Friday that he hopes to be hitting balls in about three months and he expects to be ready for the 2012 season.
"The main thing is getting the strength back," Clark said. "I could reinjure it if I tried to start playing too soon."
Clark first felt the pain in his elbow the morning after he tied for second at the Sony Open in Hawaii, playing 36 holes on Sunday. He had taken the red-eye home and when he woke up the next morning "it was just killing me."
Clark had hoped that rest and therapy would cure what was originally thought to be a case of tennis elbow. But an MRI six weeks ago revealed that the tear was worse than it had been in January, so Clark opted for the surgery.
"The toughest part was obviously the majors, missing playing the majors and some of the big events," Clark said. "That's why I played the Masters and PLAYERS, even though I probably shouldn't have."
Clark ended up missing the cut at the Masters, shooting consecutives 73s, and he had to withdraw from THE PLAYERS after shooting 74. In all, Clark played in just four events this year.
Clark, who currently is ninth in the International Team standings, will also miss competing in The Presidents Cup for the fourth time. But he told Captain Greg Norman he'd be glad to help in any way he could, and the Aussie took Clark up on his offer -- naming him as one of his assistant captains.
"Obviously, it's always a goal of mine to play my way onto the team," Clark said. "It is such a fun event and something I certainly have enjoyed a lot. When I realized we would have to do surgery, it was a huge disappointment. But I wanted to help, so I told them if they needed me in any way shape or form, I would be available.
"Greg and (assistant captain) Frank (Nobilo) spoke about it. I was extremely honored that Greg would think of me in that light. Playing for him at Harding Park (in 2009) was great. He's a great captain and hopefully I can bring something a little different to the table."
By the time he gets to Royal Melbourne in November, Clark hopes to be doing strengthening exercises and maybe even chipping and putting. He's been going to the gym doing other exercises to increase his flexibility and expects to be in a soft cast late next week.