June 10 — The next time you moan and groan about the twinge in your back after a grueling round of cart golf, you might want to consider what LPGA Tour golfer Stacy Lewis had to overcome just to be able to walk, let alone smack a golf ball.
- View photos of Stacy Lewis, including one of the golf pro at age 11
You would never know it to watch her smooth, graceful swing, but the 25-year-old Lewis missed her entire first year at the University of Arkansas when she underwent surgery to insert five titanium screws and a rod in her spine. The procedure corrected scoliosis, which caused a 45-degree curve in Lewis’ back.
Athlete 360. Lewis, the subject of this week’s “Athlete 360,” a sports cable-TV series focusing on athletes and sports medicine, spent seven years in a back brace before relenting to surgery at age 18. Her winning battle with the crippling condition is the subject of the program, which tells the stories of athletes overcoming medical afflictions.
You can catch the Lewis episode tonight. Click here to learn when and where.
Superstar. It’s not like Lewis had the surgery and limped her way onto the tour. The second-year golfer went on to become a four-time All-American, played on an NCAA championship team at Arkansas, compiled an historic 5-0 record at the 2008 Curtis Cup matches, and is now rated 18th on the LPGA Tour.
You can read more about Lewis on her “Stacysback” website.
After turning pro, Lewis eschewed talk of her medical problems, seeking renown for her golf instead, according to 7CsGolf.com. Communications from parents and kids with the same diagnosis convinced her to use her experience to help others suffering with scoliosis.
Inspiration to others. “Now I realize that it’s a part of me and I can really use it to inspire people,” Lewis said. “That’s kind of what I’m out here for, and it’s a part of me and needs to be a part of me.”
Lewis’ achievements include the following:
- Winner, LPGA Qualifying School 2008 by 3 strokes
- Third place, U.S. Open, 2008 (her first event as a professional)
- Fifth place, Kraft Nabisco Championship, 2007 (as an amateur)
- Winner, NCAA Individual Championship, 2007
- Top-ranked U.S. amateur, 2007 & 2008
- Winner, 12 collegiate tournaments
- Four-time All-American at University of Arkansas
- First player to record 5 wins and no losses in Curtis Cup history, 2008
Lewis did not return Golf Examiner requests for comment.
The 2010 Curtis Cup tees off tomorrow at Essex County Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. Read how World Cup soccer is not the only rivalry shaping up this week between biennial the U.S. and competitors from across the pond.
Video. Watch Lewis’ balanced, elegant swing in this video: