DeCorso battles time, injury

IAN HUTCHINSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

What appeared to be a smooth ride home this Nationwide Tour season has left Guelph's Bryan DeCorso with a huge obstacle in front of him going into the final month of the 2008 schedule.

DeCorso, 37, earned the first Nationwide Tour win of his career back in early May at the South Georgia Classic after being in the lead before tying for fourth at the Henrico County Open the week before.

After the victory in Valdosta, Ga., DeCorso found himself in fourth place on the Nationwide Tour money list and in great shape to finish in the top 25, which would have earned him a ticket to the PGA Tour in 2009.

In the 15 tournaments he has played since then, Decorso has 10 missed cuts and one withdrawal and is now looking up at the top 25 from his current position in 31st with $159,996 US. With the tour on a break for a couple of weeks, DeCorso is regrouping with four events left, two of them with smaller purses.

"The drawback is the amount of money that it takes (to get into the top 25)," DeCorso said. "By year's end, it going to be $205,000. I only have 160, so I have to make $45,000 to get to the projected amount. On the Nationwide Tour, that can be somebody's whole season and I have to do it in four events."

If that isn't a big enough challenge, DeCorso also has to deal with severe pain that has been bothering him since that win in Georgia. He has seen massage therapists, chiropractors and other health care professionals, but got news from a specialist in Orlando last week that he has a degenerative disc in his neck.

"There are times that I've performed okay with it. There are other times when it has prevented me from doing anything good," he said.

"It just has become the ultimate frustration for me because there have been times when I've been playing good and i t has flared up and it has really prevented me from doing what I wanted to do and other times, it has got in the way of me making the cut or just having a good weekend," he said.

When he won in Georgia, a big deal was made of swing changes he had started making with his coach Greg Towne just a few weeks earlier. DeCorso suspects that the disc problem may already have been there, but may be aggravated by those swing changes.

"I have a feeling that all these swing changes that I've made, my body, for some reason, doesn't like it, so I'm going to have to sit down with my coach and I'm going to have to talk to him about all these swing changes I've been making and how my body's reacting to it and what should we do.

"I'm not going to live my golf career like this. I hit a golf ball on the range (at the Oregon Classic) and my neck went out and it has happened about five or six times this year, so I can't continue to live that way, with the pain so excruciating.

"I was going to withdraw from the event, but there's too much emphasis near the end of the year on me making money.

"I played through severe pain on Saturday and Sunday, so if it was in the middle of the season, I would have withdrawn. I don't want to injure myself even more."

So, DeCorso and Towne will use the small window they have between tournaments to try to ease a problem that is so unpredictable in regards to when it will strike.

DeCorso believes that if he can somehow avoid the pain, his game isn't in as bad a shape as some people might think.

NOT TERRIBLE

"It would seem to the average observer that the last two-and-a-half months have just been miserable, but I really haven't been playing that bad. I've been shooting around par, just not good enough on the Nationwide Tour or just not good enough by a shot or two, but not terrible," he said.

For now, he will continue with his goal of getting his card by the end of the Nationwide Tour Championship in early November, but even if that doesn't happen, there is still a chance of getting to the PGA Tour next year. The immediate goal is making a great 2008 season even better, he says.

"I've got to look at it as just an opportunity that I have that I've never had in my life," DeCorso said.

"I have status on the Nationwide Tour -- I'm fully exempt out there for next year. I'll have status for the next, like six years," he added.

"I'm going straight to finals at Q-School and I've got four tournaments to improve all of that stuff that I've already earned."


Videos

Photos