MARCUS Fraser will miss almost the entire European Tour season.
Complications following surgery on his left hand demand further treatment, with the 35-year-old unlikely to be on a golf course much before September.
Fraser played four tournaments at the start of the year in the Middle East before undergoing surgery for the injury that first surfaced at last year’s British Open.
But an attempted comeback in a pro-am three weeks ago finished with Fraser unable to move his hand.
Now medical experts are using a radical technique that involves taking the two-time European tour winner’s own blood, separating the plasma, and pumping it back into the hand and forearm to deal with what they believe is a form of tendonitis.
After each injection the hand is immobilised for up to three weeks.
Yesterday Fraser’s hand was still in a brace and hitting a golf course at best four months away.
“Every time I picked up a club I would get a shooting pain across the top and side of my hand,” he said.
“It started at the British Open last year and I had a couple of cortisone injections but each time it worked for just a couple of months and wore off.
“They call it carpal bossing, basically a bone growth.
“The sports doctor and surgeon decided to go in and shave down the bone and put wax into the space to stop it growing back.
“That operation was in February and that got rid of the pain in the top of the hand but I still have the pain down the side of the hand and the forearm, it’s like a lot of tendonitis down the left side.
“I started plasma injections last week, they take some blood out, spin the blood, separate the cells and inject it back into the tendon.
“I need three of those, each six weeks apart, and hopefully that has me right to go.”
Fraser said it was frustrating but the best long-term option.
He has a medical exemption for the tour that allows him to start next season with the same status he had this year and after a season that saw him in three majors and a factor in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai playoff.
The only major he missed was the Masters, where he fell agonisingly short of being in the world’s top 50 and a guaranteed start at Augusta.
“I just decided to shut the golf down for this year — make sure I get it right, be 100 per cent,” Fraser said.
“It’s a bit frustrating at the moment but it has to be done for the long term.
“I have a full medical exemption for next year, so I’ll be in the same category to get into tournaments that I would have had this season.
“Had I kept playing injured it would have affected the way I played but (would) also affect the medical exemption for next year — the way they see it if you tee up for a tournament you are fit to play.”
But the upside for the former Corowa junior is a rare winter at home in Australia.
“I’m missing it already but at the same time I have two young kids whose dad is not normally around much,” Fraser said.
“So every night their old man puts them to bed and every morning he gets them up again.
“It is a bit special, normally I’m here for a week and then overseas for two or three.
“I even get to take my son to Auskick this weekend and that’s something I just wouldn’t have been able to do — it makes it a bit easier to be taking the time off.
“It will be great to go to the footy and have a bit of a normal life.
“I’ve been playing in Europe for 11 years and to have a year off, although its through injury, may just be the right move for the future.”
Fraser is targeting a comeback at the Perth International in late October and “hopefully” the Australian golf summer of the Masters, Open and PGA.
“The European schedule finishes at the end of October at the Perth International and the European Tour has said I can play a couple of tournaments at the end of the year as part of my rehabilitation, with the tour starting again at the end of November over in South Africa,” he said
“I’ll target that and hopefully look to play in the Aussie Masters, Open and PGA depending on what clashes with European Tour commitments.
“Hopefully in about three or four weeks I can do a little bit with the clubs before the next injection — a week of light practice just to keep in touch.
“But realistically I don’t think I will be back on a golf course before mid-August.”