Rest – which means eight to 10 weeks in a cast – and not surgery will be the treatment for Tacoma golfer Michael Putnam’s ailing left wrist.
Putnam, the Life Christian Academy and Pepperdine graduate, suffered a fracture in the lunate bone June 22 while hitting golf balls at a practice facility in Raleigh, N.C. – the day before the start of the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour.
He played in that event – and two more tournaments thereafter before withdrawing from the Greenbrier Classic midway through the second round in July.
A week later in Reno, Nev., doctors detected the wrist fracture. Putnam immediately returned home, and had been meeting with hand specialists for the past month.
Finally on Tuesday, his hand was put in a full cast, performed by Dr. Carleton Keck, of Seattle Hand Surgery. Keck also does work with athletes from the Seattle Mariners and Seahawks as well.
“The injury is probably not as uncommon as doctors once thought, because it never usually gets diagnosed … by an X-ray,” Putnam said. “I had an X-ray today, and it showed my bone perfect with no flaws.”
Putnam said he will get a magnetic imaging resonance (MRI) test in late September or early October to see how the wrist is healing.
His 2011 season on the PGA Tour is all but over, but Putnam could return in time for the final stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School starting Nov. 30 in La Quinta, Calif.
Putnam will also likely be granted an injury exemption by the PGA Tour next season as well, to try and earn enough money in a certain amount of tournaments to match the 125th-place total on the money list. Putnam finishes the season with $398,400.
He said this is the first real injury he has ever suffered – outside a sprained ankle and having his wisdom teeth pulled.
With the extended time off, Putnam said he will fulfill “lots of baby duties” (with son, Jantzen) and take in an occasional University of Washington home football game.