INJURY victim Gary Emerson could be forgiven for having frayed nerves ahead of tomorrow’s US Senior PGA Championship first round.
The Bournemouth-born golfer, 50, is facing a race against time to recover from a blistered heel before proceedings get under way at Harbor Shores in Michigan.
That is not an ideal state of affairs for a man preparing himself for his first major across the pond at either European Tour or European Senior Tour level, having only become eligible for the latter circuit in September.
The 2004 Russian Open champion told the Daily Echo: “To play a major in America is something I’ve always wanted to do, so I’m excited to play, but I’m struggling with a horrendous blister on my left heel at the moment.
“I’ve got it strapped up and I’m having it treated by physios, so hopefully it’s going to sort itself out by Thursday, otherwise it’s going to be hard work.
“It’s not so bad when I hit the ball, it’s the walking on the course that’s the tough thing.
“It’s a major issue, but it is what it is and it’s just a case of trying to get it sorted as quickly as possible.”
Emerson received an invite from the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) to play in the 75th iteration of the prestigious tournament.
There is a $2.1million prize fund on offer and the likes of Tom Watson, Mark Calcavecchia and Colin Montgomerie are among the big names in the field.
Emerson, who plays out of Remedy Oak, will tee off alongside United States duo Jim Carter and Kirk Nelson at 9.20am local time (2.20pm GMT).
Having arrived in Michigan on Monday, he subsequently ran the rule over the course during practice and confirmed it would provide a stern test.
He said: “The course is in very good condition and the greens are very tricky.
“They are very slopey so it’s important to try and hit the right areas, otherwise you’re going to find yourself in trouble.”
The two-time Challenge Tour winner heads into the event in positive form, having finished tied-third at the Senior PGA Professional Championship at Foxhills Resort in Surrey last week.
Meanwhile, greens at Remedy Oak will undergo a £500,000 facelift this summer to bring them up to the latest United States Golf Association standards.
The current rootzone will be replaced before the existing grass is re-laid on top.
Remedy Oak director of golf Nigel Tokely said: “This significant investment will allow us to have free-draining greens all year round.”