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October 10, 2013

Fairways and Greens: Adams ready for action after long recovery

After years of hip trouble, former Dalton High School golfer Blake Adams had surgery this past January in hopes of returning to play pain-free golf on the PGA Tour.

Today, a little more than eight months later, Adams will make his return to tournament play at the Frys.com Open at CordeValle Golf Club outside of San Jose, Calif.

In a post earlier this week on his blog at blakeadamsgolf.com, Adams announced his return to competitive play.

Adams had surgery to repair five areas of damage in his left hip socket on Jan. 29 and began a rehab program while receiving a major medical exemption from the PGA Tour. He had planned to play in a few Web.com Tour events as part of his rehab schedule, but he re-injured his hip during a workout and didn’t participate in those tournaments. Instead, he focused on getting ready for his return to the PGA Tour.

“So here I am, tournament rusty but blessed to have the opportunity to compete in my first tournament since January,” Adams posted. “And how do I feel? In all honesty, I am about 85 percent. I am still having a couple of issues but nothing major. Over the last week or so, some have questioned my decision to return at 85 percent. I quickly reminded them that 85 percent is 85 percent better than WHAT I WAS!!”

Adams, 38, will return with a new caddy — David Robinson — and some new equipment in his bag, including a traditional putter. Because of his hip and lower back trouble, Adams had been using a belly putter, but with the pain alleviated he is returning to a traditional putting stroke.

Because of his medical exemption from the PGA, he is still a card-carrying pro despite his lack of action and will have 24 starts to earn $595,483 to retain his pro status. While he is anxious to return to the Tour, Adams did express regret over having to leave his family after being able to be a stay-at-home dad during the past few months.

“But now it is time to go back to work and provide for my family,” he said in his blog entry. “My journey back to the PGA Tour has been long and extremely humbling. I am ready to compete. I am ready to win. We will see what happens. Whether I hoist a trophy on Sunday or miss the cut, a pain-free tournament will be a WIN in my book!”

• I was saddened to learn of the passing of Clyde Leslie “C.L.” Cruse on Sept. 24. Some of you may remember the feature in The Daily Citizen this past summer on the group of older gentlemen who regularly play golf at Indian Trace Golf Course in Chatsworth.

Cruse, 88, was a member of that group and his stories of his life and his passion for the game and his love of his family could have filled volumes. He talked of caddying as a youth and his enjoyment of playing the game with his friends, and he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind, either.

“We have a fun group of people,” he said while sitting on the back porch at the club’s clubhouse this summer. “It is a lot better than we used to have. We’ve had some jerks. ... I don’t care, I am old enough to say it and get away with it.”

I felt honored to be able to meet with those gentlemen, and each one had his own special stories, with his own unique style and personality to match. I hope I did justice to Mr. Cruse’s story in the limited space available here in the paper. He will certainly be missed by his golfing buddies and the people at Indian Trace.

• Speaking of Indian Trace, the course will hold its yearly free play day for veterans on Monday. All day long, veterans will be allowed to play the course for free, with food and drinks provided by the club.

• Be sure to keep up with all of the local charity golf events by reading our Local Sports Calendar in Sunday’s edition of The Daily Citizen or online at daltonnow.com/events.

“Fairways and Greens” is a column focusing on local golf news and notes by sports writer Chris Whitfield. You can send him your tips and notes at chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com.

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