This week at the Open D’Italia Retief Goosen will test out a back injury that’s sidelined him since May. In spite of his 14 European Tour titles, The Goose is unranked in the Race to Dubai for 2013 and will approach the week on the comeback trail.
The two-time US Open winner will be the lone major champion playing at Golf Club Torino this week, but has only appeared on the European Tour twice this season. The last few months have been difficult for the Polokwane local, who last raised a European trophy at the Qatar Masters in 2007.
Four years have slipped by since The Goose first struggled with his back, and in that time he’s gone from Ice Man to inert.
Goosen enters the week ranked 212 in the world and looking to test out his back after a long spell away from competitive golf. With players like Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez succeeding in the twilight of their careers, 44-year-old Goosen has the time to make a comeback.
Even through the injury setbacks Goosen was a force to be reckoned with in 2012. He finished 10th in the US Open, played the weekend at The Open and the PGA Championship, and finished runner-up at the Volvo Golf Champions after competing in a playoff.
For the last few years Goosen has threatened early on in each season, shortly after the festive break. This would indicate that his injury woes subside after he has some rest, but return when he starts the intense touring circuit of a world-renowned golfer.
After months of rest, which is far more than he takes over the festive period, The Goose returns this week. A tentative approach is necessary, but if he’s fully healed then it will surely be a pleasure to watch a master roll those putts once again.