AUGUSTA, Ga. — Arnold Palmer is expected to have back surgery when he returns from the Masters to relieve pressure caused by spinal stenosis.
Palmer, 84, has been bothered by back pain for a while, said Doc Giffin, Palmer’s administrative assistant. It was evident when the former four-time Masters champion participated in the annual par-3 contest Wednesday at Augusta National Golf Club.
Palmer is scheduled to be one of the honorary starters at 7:50 a.m. today when he hits a ceremonial first tee shot along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
Curiously, this is the 50th anniversary of Palmer’s fourth and final Masters victory in 1964, when he went wire-to-wire to beat Nicklaus and Dave Marr by six shots. It also was the last time Palmer won a major title on the regular tour.
Spinal stenosis is very common in golfers and occurs when the diameter of the spinal canal shrinks and squeezes the nerve. Giffin said the surgery is not definite, but likely.
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @gerrydulac First Published April 9, 2014 10:21 PM