Baryla back on disabled list

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:32 AM ET

The good news is Chris Baryla has plenty of time to hire a band, pick out a tuxedo and decide between beef or chicken for his December wedding.

But he’d rather be golfing.

Unfortunately for the Calgary native, he won’t have the choice for at least four months.

Adding to what’s already been a frustrating start to his PGA Tour career, surgery to fix a torn labrum a few weeks ago has Baryla again watching the circuit from outside the ropes in his rookie season.

“I am quite sure that Amelie will put me to good use planning our wedding — not sure if that will have a positive or negative effect on the wedding,” said the ever-spirited Baryla. “And time away from competitive golf will enable me to spend more time with friends and family and enjoy our home for more that two weeks consecutively.”

It’s that positive attitude that will likely have Baryla back in top form on the links sooner rather than later.

After all, he’s battled health issues on and off for the last two years — and it hasn’t kept the 27-year-old from reaching the sport’s highest level.

The B.C.-raised golfer suffers from a medical condition called stenosis, which puts stress on his left leg and lower back. The nerve issue nearly wrecked his career in 2008, but he returned a year later to earn both US$217,680 on the Nationwide Tour and his PGA Tour card.

Now that he’s arrived in the big leagues, he’s played in just seven PGA tournaments, pocketing only $24,254 after making two cuts.

His back, broken ribs and now the torn labrum — the tissue around the hip socket — has hampered his first campaign on the circuit.

“It happened due to a combination of golf, likely trail running and genetics,” said Baryla of the latest setback. “It had been bothering me for about three months. I did a bunch of running before and during (the January tour swing through) Hawaii, which probably aggravated it.

“It was taking (PGA fitness and nutrition expert) Craig Davies a couple of hours a day of tissue work to keep me playing. In addition to that,

I had been unable to play practice rounds and work out, so each week became a major chore from a preparation aspect.”

Finally, he had surgery April 19.

And now, rehab is on.

“The doctors expect that

I will be able to return to some golf around four months and, hopefully, compete in six months,” said Baryla of treatment that includes work with a physical therapist four hours a day and aqua-exercise three times a week. “It postpones my tour status until 2011. It is unlikely that I will return to the tour this season, so I pick up where I left off next year.

“Rehab is going well so far, and long-term prognosis is great. A return to better than 100% is expected.”

Baryla says doctors believe he’s been playing with the hip problem for three years and it has likely contributed to his back issues.

But again, as is par for the course with the tough Canuck, he remains optimistic.

“Well ... it certainly was frustrating not to be able to practise and prepare for tournaments as I would have liked,” Baryla said. “It was encouraging to get a diagnosis of something they could fix.

“As for the pursuit, I dream of waking up each morning and maximizing the opportunities I am afforded in all aspects of my life, personal and professional.”

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos