GOLF: SCANDINAVIAN MASTERS
Australian Mark Hensby has sought advice from Jose Maria Olazabal amid fears he has the same injury which almost ended the double US Masters champion's career.
Olazabal withdrew from the 1995 Ryder Cup with a foot injury which was initially diagnosed as rheumatoid polyarthritis and saw him confined to a wheelchair.
He feared his playing days were over until the problem was correctly identified by German doctor Hans Wilhelm Muller-Wolfhart as a disc problem in his lower back, and the Spanish star eventually returned to competition after an 18-month absence.
Hensby's injuries are a result of a car crash earlier this year in America and could force him to cut short his season after defending his title in the Scandinavian Masters at Barseback G&CC which begins today.
"I damaged my leg, back and had a lot of whiplash," said t he 35-year-old from Melbourne.
"My feet have been really bad, and I really have been struggling to walk 18 holes. I would say this will probably be my last event of the year.
"I just had an MRI scan done before I left to come here and I will get another one done when I get back to see what is going on. I talked to Olazabal, and he had a very similar thing to what I have got, so at least I know where to look.
"I may go and see the same doctor in Germany but I will see the guys in America first and see what happens."
Many of Europe's top play-ers have chosen to miss the £1.1 million event in Malmo after a busy period on the European Tour, but former US Open champion Michael Campbell is among the 159-strong field.
The New Zealander is fifth favourite for the title behind home favourites Henrik Stenson, Carl Pettersson, Niclas Fasth and last week's winner Robert Karlsson - four of a record 48 Swedes competing - but he is struggling to find top form.
"The last six months have been frustrating, because I have had a couple of chances to win tournaments but haven't managed to finish them off through trying too hard," said the Brighton-based 37-year-old. "The expectations are high, and I am putting too much pressure on myself out there. Once you win a big one like the US Open you always want to win more, and there is a time gap between majors for most people.
"You are in a transitional world where you are playing well but nothing is going in because you are trying too hard. Once you win a second one it gets a lot easier."
Three Midlanders will be looking to take advantage of the star absentees to boost their Order of Merit placings.
Tettenhall's Peter Baker tees off at 7.50am today alongside fellow Englishman Marc Warren and Spain's Ignacio Garrido, while Staffordshire's Robert Rock is in the next group alongside Scandinavian pair Janne Martikainen (Finland) and Bjorn Akeson (Sweden).
Tom Whitehouse, from Birmingham, is among the first starters from the tenth tee at 7.20am, with Argentina's Rafael Gomez and Spaniard Francis Valera as his playing partners.