A Golfer, a Baby, a Gyroscope and Some Very Big Cheques

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European PGA Tour Star Marcus Fraser survives a career threatening injury at the hands of his baby; recuperates with The Can't Miss and goes on to have a landmark year.

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Marcus Fraser holes a putt on the 72nd green at the 2012 Australian PGA

I was bored out of my mind. I couldn't pick up Archie, I couldn't swing a bat...I couldn't do much of anything. Fortunately a mate of mine put me on to The Can't Miss so I was at least able to hang out on the practice green and groove my stroke.

Thirteen months ago today, Marcus Fraser was pretty sure he wouldn’t play golf again.

That morning the European PGA Tour star so convincingly lost a wrestling match with his baby son Archie that he had to report to an orthopaedic surgeon in the afternoon. After any number of MRI’s, CAT scans and X-Rays, he was duly informed that if he didn’t replace the prolapsed disc in his neck he could resume the career he left at 15; flipping burgers at the Corowa Macca’s, because – “you can do that with one arm”. Marcus was pretty sure that he wanted to stay on Tour, his lucrative workplace for the past decade, so he agreed to undergo emergency surgery where C5-C6 were replaced with a synthetic disc, a carbon-fibre cage and a metal plate.
The surgery was announced a likely success but Marcus was given strict instructions to avoid swinging a club for at least a month.

“I was bored out of my mind,” recalls Marcus. “I couldn’t pick up Archie, I couldn’t swing a bat, Carlie was seven months pregnant, I couldn’t do much of anything. Fortunately a mate of mine put me on to The Can’t Miss so I was at least able to hang out on the practice green and groove my stroke.”

The Can’t Miss is the name of a unique putting training aid and a bit of a dirty secret of a surprising number of Tour players around the world. It is essentially a gyroscope that you clip to your putter, charge to 15,000 RPM, and start hitting putts. The device keeps the putter on a perfect path. The theory being that over time you develop a stroke good enough to repeat.

“That’s the thing you need most on Tour,” says Fraser, “a consistent, gently arcing stroke that repeats under the pump.”

Five weeks after surgery, Marcus arrived in Doral to compete in the World Golf Championship at the famed Blue Monster. After four rounds he led the putting stats.

This kicked off a year for the ages. He didn’t win, but despite a belated start to his 2011 campaign and limited ability to practice his full swing, he posted a handful of top ten’s, topped the all-round European Tour putting stats, and in the process pocketed half a million Euro.

“I was pretty happy with my year, all things considered” says Marcus, “but I’d had enough of being away from Oz. I was keen to get home to my newborn (daughter Lilly) and maybe peg it up in our local Masters and PGA.”
This is where Marcus really lit it up. Riding a hot hand in the final round of the PGA, he sank a sixty foot snake on the 72nd green to get into a playoff with Robert Allenby and Greg Chalmers (the latter going on to win). Then in the Australian Masters at the much-lauded Victoria Golf Club, he shot an otherworldly 64 in the final round. This was the round of the day. In thirty knot winds, with greens stimping fourteen, Fraser needed just 25 putts to launch in to second place behind Ian Poulter.

This capped a strange and brilliant year.

Last night Marcus again found himself at the WGC in Doral. He had just birdied four of the last ten holes of the tournament to finish 24th.

In the clubhouse bar, surrounded by some of the best players in the world, Marcus reflected on the past year.

“Maybe the accident was a blessing in a way and maybe I’ll find it in my heart to forgive Archie one of these days,” Fraser said with a grin. “Maybe when he turns five.”

Contact:    Shane Verner
Phone:        +61(0)420797585
Email:        sverner(at)thecantmiss(dot)com(dot)au
Website:    http://www.thecantmiss.com

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