116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A University of Iowa athletics trainer had been a spectator at Augusta National for just an hour when he found himself called onto the course to tend to an injured athlete.
With any luck, Jesse Donnenwerth can fade into the gallery today and simply enjoy watching golf. But when Gary Woodland had a hurting wrist Saturday, Donnenwerth was summoned onto the No. 8 fairway to try to help the player.
Citing the HIPAA law, Donnenwerth didn't want to discuss his consultation with Woodland, but it obviously was for a wrist injury.
“I made a swing on 8 and shot the pain up in the rest of the arm, all the way down the hand,” Woodland said. “Should have stopped, trainers wanted me to stop, caddie was begging me to stop. I worked too hard to get here. I wanted to at least finish today and we'll take it from there.”
He withdrew from the tourney on Saturday night.
There was a delay of about 10 minutes from the time Woodland sought assistance to when he was done meeting with Donnenwerth and opted to continue playing.
It probably wasn't a wise choice. Woodland, who is ninth on the PGA Tour in driving distance, winced after many shots, dropping his club immediately after a few. He had the wrist taped on the ninth hole, but the pain and his play steadily worsened.
“I've worked too hard (to quit),” he said. “It's frustrating. I probably should have stopped on it ... but it was tough. I've never quit anything in my life. I just wanted to finish.”
Woodland was 3-over par over the first seven holes of his round. After hurting his wrist on the tee shot at 8, he was 10-over the rest of the way with three double bogeys, and closed with a gruesome score of 85.
“A lot of courage there, and a lot of fortitude,” said Zach Johnson, Woodland's playing partner Saturday.
Johnson and Woodland both use the services of physio chiropractor Dr. Troy Van Biezen. Johnson tried to locate Van Biezen when it was obvious Woodland needed to get an informed medical opinion, but Van Biezen was elsewhere on the course following other clients.
“Then Jesse came out,” Johnson said. “He's dating our nanny.”
The nanny is Jill Frantz, an Iowa City native who played on the University of Northern Iowa women's golf team and is a pro golfer herself. She works for Johnson and his wife, Kim. They have two young sons. Frantz got Donnenwerth a Masters badge for the weekend.
Donnenwerth is the trainer for the Hawkeyes' wrestling, men's golf and women's golf programs. It's an important time in Iowa wrestling as several Hawkeye Wrestling Club members are gearing up for the Olympic Trials at Carver-Hawkeye Arena April 21-22.
But, Donnenwerth said, “the guys got today and tomorrow off, so Tom (Brands) said I could come down here.”
He is finishing his first year at Iowa after doing his student-training there several years ago. He returned to the school after spending five years at the University of Wisconsin, working for former Hawkeye athletes Bret Bielema and Barry Davis as a trainer for the Badgers' football and wrestling squads.
Donnenwerth is from Hartley, in northwest Iowa. “It's good to be a Hawkeye again,” he said.
Johnson, meanwhile, shot a birdie-less 3-over 75 to slip to a tie for 38th-place at 3-over 219.
“I didn't play well, obviously,” he said. “I didn't make any putts other than an 8-footer for par on 14.
“I'm putting it in play. I'm doing a lot of good things, just not getting it to the hole quick enough.”
Such woes paled in comparison to Woodland's, though.
“He's a big guy and he's got a lot of power and a lot of prowess,” said Johnson. “I'm sure that takes a toll sometimes. It's very unfortunate. We're good buddies.”
“The pain was the definitely the most pain I've had in the wrist ever,” Woodland said. “It hurt me going back, it hurt me going through. It was a long, long day.”
Johnson came close to being paired today with Tiger Woods, since both are at 3-over. Johnson tees off with playing partner Aaron Baddeley at 10:20 a.m. (Iowa time), with Woods and Vijay Singh next at 10:30.
If Woods injures himself today - perhaps from kicking a golf club - a team of medical experts undoubtedly will be rounded up immediately.