It has been three months since top South African women’s golfer Ashleigh Simon underwent hip surgery and while her recovery has been good, there is a chance she won’t be ready to play in this month’s South African Women’s Open.
The 23-year-old Simon’s game is still limited largely to chipping and putting, and she only started hitting balls with a half swing last week. But she is still unsure as to whether she will compete in the Ladies European Tour and WPGA co-sanctioned SA Women’s Open at Southbroom from 19-21 April.
“I’m well down the road to recovery, but I won’t be able to make a decision until right before the tournament,” said the two-time SA Women’s Open champion.
“The surgery was a success and the game is coming along slowly, but my surgeon did warn me that it would be three to six months before I could play again. In January, three months sounded like nothing, but having reached that mark, I would have to say that it is doubtful that I’ll return to competitive golf any time soon.”
Simon, for so long the flagbearer of the new wave of young talent in South African women’s golf, admits to feeling frustrated by her situation.
“I was told in August last year that I would have to have the hip surgery, and the news came as quite a blow. I had this constant ache in my hip and down my leg, but I was able to manage it with physiotherapy. I had just started to play really well in Europe when I had to quit, so I was rather resentful about going under the knife, but at that stage I was also getting daily cortisone injections to cope with the pain.
“In hindsight, it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. Not just sorting out the hip problem, but it was the first time that I actually took some real time off from the game since I was 13 years old.”
Simon is no stranger to injury comebacks over the last few years, and is once again doing her best to remain patient.
“I’m obviously frustrated that I have to work through this process, when all I want to do is get out there and play. I’m working hard with my coach to get my game back. I’m doing far more gym work than I’ve ever done before to get fit. I’m also working with a sports psychologist. I don’t think I’ve ever been as mentally tough and prepared as I am now.
“I will have a pretty full schedule once I start playing again because I have to play a minimum of 11 events. My main goal right now is to get into fighting shape, so I am able to challenge for victory in every event I tee it up in when I go back on Tour.”