Smiling Sindelar back at the Dick's Open

By wbng sports

August 15, 2013 Updated Aug 15, 2013 at 12:10 AM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A year ago, a late run came up just short as Horseheads native Joey Sindelar missed out on the playoff for the Dick's Sporting Goods Open title by one shot. The journey back to En-Joie though has been even tougher than those final few holes for the Southern Tier native.

After battling arthritis in his back, Sindelar decided he needed to have surgery to hopefully relieve some of the pain when he played. After having that surgery, Sindelar reconstructed his golf swing, in order to take pressure nerves along his spinal cord.

Things haven't come easily since his surgery though. Sindelar's played in just three tournaments this season, and he said he's still struggling to swing as hard or hit the ball as far as he used to. Both those factors have changed his expectations a bit.

Sindelar with different expectations this year

"Success for me now means pain free number one. With speed now, they finally convinced me swing hard, swing as hard as you can because you're not going to hurt yourself and you've shown that you can come pretty close with a pretty full swing," the Horseheads native said. "And of course as soon as you're in a tournament the golf instincts take over. You don't want to stink. I mean I say those are the things that will make me happy, but if do those two things and the shot still goes into the crowd, I'm not going to be very happy."

The results have reflected his lack of time on the course. In three tournaments since returning from injury, his best result is a three-over, tied for 69 finish at the 3M Championship earlier this month. However, being back at the Dick's Open certainly rejuvenates Sindelar.

"I should at leas be able to hit some good shots here, and I'm here," he said. "It just would have broken my heart, and I would have been here, I would have come here anyway. But to be glad-handing rather than playing would have been good, not great. So I'm thrilled to be playing."

Sindelar tees off with Fred Funk and John Cook on Friday at 1:09 p.m. in his first round.

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