U.S. Women’s Open: Cristie Kerr Is Playing in Pain

“Whenever I have broken ribs or torn cartilage, I have to stop playing golf because the turn is so painful,” he said.

“I couldn’t imagine swinging a golf club for four hours.”

The world No. 6 Brooke Henderson, a former hockey goaltender, was similarly impressed, saying, “I don’t see how I would ever be able to do that.”

Kerr can wrap her upper body like a mummy in kinesiology tape, but that addresses only her physical ailments. The emotional wounds are tougher to protect. After Thursday’s first round, as Kerr was describing the accident, she choked up and her eyes welled with tears when she arrived at the part about being thrown from the cart.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “Maybe I shouldn’t talk about it. I remember landing on my chest and it was awful. But I’m here and I played and I was tough today and I feel like I’m going to keep getting better every day.”

The Friday tee times were moved up in anticipation of a rainstorm that held off, except for scattered drops, until the end of Kerr’s round. On the final fairway, she walked over to the gallery ropes and exchanged umbrellas with her husband, Erik Stevens, who asked, “Are you OK?”

“Nope,” Kerr replied.

He hadn’t really needed to ask. Kerr’s uncharacteristic wildness off the tee over her last few holes telegraphed that the pain in her torso was flaring and her back was tightening. Despite the discomfort, which kept her from hitting through the ball with her usual speed, she played her last five holes in one under par. She birdied No. 8, her 17th hole.

“I’m proud of the way I’ve been hanging in there,” Kerr said afterward. “Clearly I’m not happy with the way I hit it coming in, but I know that’s not fully in my control right now, so I’ve just got to be patient with myself.”

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