Scheffler suffers Sawgrass injury scare: ‘I didn’t know if I’d continue’

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Scheffler suffers Sawgrass injury scare: ‘I didn’t know if I’d continue’

Scottie Scheffler admitted he feared he may not be able to complete his title defence at The Players after experiencing a neck injury during his second round at TPC Sawgrass.

Scheffler arrived as the overwhelming pre-tournament favourite to become the first golfer, to successfully defend their Players Championship title, having claimed a five-shot victory in last year’s contest and won by the same margin last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The seven-time PGA Tour winner made a strong start to his title defence when he carded a five-under 67 on Thursday, leaving him two strokes behind the early lead, then birdied the tenth on Friday – his opening hole of the day – before experiencing the neck issue early in his round.

Image: Scottie Scheffler suffered an injury scare during his second round at The Players

“I hit a shot on my second hole today and I felt a little something in my neck, and then I tried to hit my tee shot on 12, and that’s when I could barely get the club back,” Scheffler told reporters after a second-round 69, moving him to eight under.

“So I got some treatment, maybe it loosened up a tiny bit, but most of the day I was pretty much labouring to get the club somehow away from me.”

Scheffler sat on a chair by the 14th tee to receive treatment and was worked on ahead of the par-four next, where he made a bogey, with the former Masters champion then having physio again ahead of a birdie at the par-five 16th.

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Scottie Scheffler took a break before teeing off on the 14th hole at TPC Sawgrass to receive treatment on his shoulder and neck

The world No 1 made par on each of his next three holes and birdied the par-five second to get within two of the lead, only to show clear discomfort after his tee shot at the par-three third finished left of the green.

Scheffler holed his next shot for a second successive birdie but bogeyed the par-four sixth, with three pars over his closing holes seeing him head into the weekend on eight under and six strokes behind clubhouse leader Wyndham Clark.

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Scottie Scheffler struggles with a neck injury as he hits a tee shot on the third hole at TPC Sawgrass, but recovers with a brilliant chip-in birdie

“I did enough I felt like today to keep myself somewhat in the tournament, and so that’s really all I could ask for,” Scheffler added. “The way I was getting around the course, the way my neck was feeling, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to continue playing.

“So yeah, good fight out there. Hopefully it’ll loosen up and then I’ll be able to make somewhat normal swings tomorrow.”

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Clark: I owe form to Scheffler

US Open champion Clark set the pace after back-to-back 65s, with the world No 5 looking to continue his hot start to the year that has seen him win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and finish second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Speaking about Scheffler, Clark said: “I have so much respect for Scottie [Scheffler] and his game and consistency and he really is kind of the meter right now of where you want to try to be.

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Clubhouse leader Wyndham Clark credits his mental strength after he pulled clear of the pack with six birdies in eight holes during the second round

“I think the best thing about Scottie is his consistency. I was very consistent [last year] in making cuts and kind of always being in the top 20 and then I won a few times, but Scottie’s always in contention.

“He’s pushed me to be better and it’s fun to watch him and so I’m really trying to catch him. I really owe a lot to him to some of my good golf of late.”

Watch The Players live throughout the week on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf, with extra feeds available before then on the red button. Stream the PGA Tour and more with NOW.

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