Total Joint Replacements Tested on PGA Tour

10/19/12 Until a couple years ago there was no player on the PGA Tours who had a total joint replacement.  The first publicized was Jack Nicklaus and then Tom Watson.  Nicklaus did advertisements for Stryker’s ceramic hip and it did not work out well and was replaced.  That fact was not in the TV promotions.  Watson competed well in the British Open couple years ago just months after his hip surgery.  The nature of the geometry of the hip joint, being a ball and socket accepts axial and rotation forces incurred while playing golf.

The knee is constructed very differently and is subject to flexion, rotation and shear forces.  I know of three active players on the Champions tour who have had a total knee replacement; Fred Funk, Mark McNulty and Peter Jacobson.  Jacobson also had one hip replaced.  All three players are now at least two years since the knee surgery.  So far, all are still competing and Funk won just last week.  In private conversations all feel they are much better off pain wise, but recognized it took some time to adjust to the surgery.  The reason being that the proprioception so necessary for athletic moves in golf is diminished following knee replacement.  This function gradually is compensated for in time.

The loads on the knee are very high in golf.  I reported this on  I do not know the exact model of joint replacement each player has implanted, but the question yet to be determined is how long will the artificial knee hold up under the loads placed on it during play on the PGA tour.