Photo of Jim McMahon courtesy of American Century Championship
He also suffered with lower back pain during play this weekend that caused him to give ground in his final two rounds at the American Century Championship. He started with two birdies and a respectable 15 points on Friday. But he gave most of those points back with a couple of poor rounds on the weekend.
The event uses a modified Stableford format that awards graduated points for pars or better. Two points are subtracted for a double bogey or worse.
But there was some great news since last summer for the hard-nosed quarterback that led the Chicago Bears to the 1986 Super Bowl title.
He had been diagnosed with the onset of dementia and endured headaches so painful that all he could do was lie in his dark bedroom to ease the pain.
“I was spending a lot of time in my bedroom, laying in the dark, said McMahon as he was receiving treatment on his lower back. “ The only time I felt halfway decent was lying down. When you lay down the pressure kind of came off the vertebra and it released some of the fluid.
But last November, McMahon found a doctor in New York City, who found that McMahon’s problem was caused by two vertebra in his neck that were twisted 22 degrees from the norm. He did not suffer from the onset of dementia.
“Those twisted vertebra were choking off my spinal cord,” said McMahon. “I got a guy who figured out how to adjust those at levels C1 and C2. He said he couldn’t reverse the damage, but he could relieve the pain.
“I went there for 10 days straight and saw him twice a day. The first time he did it he didn’t think it would hold because it had been out of whack for 20 years. Sure enough the muscles pulled it back and I couldn’t even move my head the next day. But since he did it the second time, it’s been fine as far as the headaches anyway.”
And McMahon now has a different outlook, despite his worst showing at the celebrity golf event.
“I don’t want to kill myself anymore,” said McMahon. “My head hurt so bad that I can see how these guys are killing themselves.”
But McMahon doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him. He didn’t hesitate when asked if all the pounding he took as a quarterback had been worth it.
“Hell yeah, he said. “I got invited here since I played. If we hadn’t won anything, I wouldn’t have gotten invited out here. I love coming here. I don’t come here to win this tournament. I’ve met some good people over the years.”
The event will be televised by NBC on Sunday from 3-6 p.m. (EDT).The winner receives $125,000 from the total purse of $600,000.
By Craig Smith, former director of media relations for the U.S. Golf Association.