Golf: Way's preparations are off beam

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The Independent Online
PAUL WAY begins the long haul towards a place in the Ryder Cup team at Crans sur Sierre today, but he may need a bodyguard if he is to make it to The Belfry next summer.

Accident prone is a fair description. He will be handicapped in the European Masters this week by a back injury, the legacy of the latest mishap to befall him. He just happened to be swinging from a door frame in a bar in this Swiss resort when the cross-beam broke, pitching him on to the floor on his back.

For good measure the frame hit Way in the face, causing a cut. 'I went to the hospital, and had two stitches in my nose and X-rays on my back,' he said. 'It hurts but with painkillers I'm still going to be able to play.

'I'm afraid these things seem to happen to me. Two years ago in Tobago I broke two toes playing beach football; last year I damaged my ribs when Peter Mitchell practised his karate on me and then this May I hurt myself twice in a few days - first go-karting and then when a pro-am partner hit me with a three-wood shot.'

Seve Ballesteros also has a back problem, but he has been suffering for years and has had a month off ahead of this first event counting for Ryder Cup points. 'It's the first time in 18 years that I have taken so long off in the middle of the season,' the Spaniard said.

'Since I won in Majorca my year has been a disaster (he has missed the cut four times, including the US Masters and Open). I know people are worried about me and I am worried, too.

'I can't move my back as I want to and I've not been able to commit myself to shots sometimes because of the pain. It's difficult to have a passion for the game when you don't feel good. I want to be physically stronger next year. Not just because of the Ryder Cup but because I want to continue my career.'

Ballesteros has won this event three times on a course famous for low scoring. The Canadian Jerry Anderson set the European tour record of 27 under on it in 1984.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ Card of the course ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Hole Yards Par Hole Yards Par 1st 536 5 10th 405 4 2nd 432 4 11th 208 3 3rd 181 3 12th 388 4 4th 503 5 13th 202 3 5th 345 4 14th 569 5 6th 323 4 15th 520 5 7th 301 4 16th 317 4 8th 175 3 17th 345 4 9th 618 5 18th 377 4 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Out: 3414 36 In: 3331 36 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Total: 6745 72 ------------------------------------------------------------------------