Chris Kirk, the Nationwide Tour’s second-leading money winner, has withdrawn from the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island due to a wrist injury.
Kirk was forced to withdraw from last week’s Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open for the same reason. He came to Charleston, S.C. this week locked in a tight battle wiith the Tour’s leading money winner Jamie Lovemark.
Kirk nwill receive last-place money but it will be unofficial and not added to his current total of $411,206. Lovemark’s earnings are $421,784. The leading money winner on the Nationwide Tour is fully exempt on the PGA TOUR next year and receives an invitation to THE PLAYERS Championship in May.
Kirk, who thinks he injured the wrist when he fell early last week, had an MRI done on Wednesday that revealed a fracture at the base of his left thumb. He is now wearing a brace.
“I thought it wasn’t going to be a big deal,” Kirk said. “I thought it was going to be fine. Each day I was thinking it would get a little bit better and I’d be fine.”
The injury was originally diagnosed as a muscle sprain. But when the pain continued as he hit balls on Tuesday, Kirk opted for the MRI. He said he needs three to four weeks for the wrist to heal.
“My hand has been broken for a week and I just didn’t realize it,” Kirk said. “I was trying to downplay things by saying I thought it was bothering me as a result of hitting balls.”
Kirk, who lives in nearby St. Simon’s Island, Ga., indicated that he would likely return on Sunday for the PGA TOUR card ceremony at the end of the Nationwide Tour Championship. He’s disappointed but looking forward to 2011.
“I’m definitely very upset about (having to withdraw),” Kirk said. “I was really looking forward to playing these last couple (of tournaments), being close to home and all. This week was kind of a victory lap week.
“I’ve had a great year and I’m trying not to lose sight of that and be thankful I’m in the position I’m in and I’m not, say, 25th and not going to get my card. I’m trying to focus on that and move on and hope it heals quickly.
“This week is important but in the grand scheme of things, I’ll be playing in the Sony Open in Hawaii, the first tournament of the year and most of the early events, so I’m in great shape regardless.”
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