A “stupid” golf cart accident will sideline Victorian golfer Daniel Popovic for three months with a broken ankle.
Popovic, 29, will have surgery on Monday to have a screw inserted in his right ankle to push the broken bone back into place.
The 2012 Australian PGA champion is confident of a full recovery and hopes to be back in training by late August in time to play the Fiji International in mid-October.
Popovic, both a realist and perpetually upbeat, is relieved that the damage wasn’t more severe and that his golf career won’t be jeopardised.
But he admits it was “just plain stupid” that he put himself in harm’s way in the first place in the car park of Melbourne’s Heritage Golf Club on Tuesday.
“I’d like to tell you that something slipped and it wasn’t my fault, but it completely was,” Popovic said today after visiting his surgeon.
“I was just being silly and turned a lot sharper than I needed to and the cart just flipped and landed with the windscreen bit across my ankle.
“At the time, Lynchy (fellow pro Ryan Lynch) just fell on top of me from the passenger’s seat and we thought we were OK and had a giggle.
“But then we (along with another pro Matt Jager) went to move the cart and I was in agony.
“I guess I’ve just never grown up,” he said with typical good humour.
Popovic said the golfing fraternity had given him many light-hearted jibes since, but the one nickname that’s probably going to stick is “Ricciardo” after Australia’s Formula One driver.
“I can’t really dodge it, can I? The stupid thing is I’ve actually driven fast cars around tracks and things like that and I’ve actually had the worst injury of my life at 10km/h.”
Popovic, who went as high as 336 in the world rankings in early 2013, has slipped to 1460 but said that the injury was bad timing because he’d recently found the form that helped him shoot to prominence at Coolum in late 2012.
“I’ve just started finding some good touch. I played well in Canberra and then played a couple of really good matches in (Golf Victoria) pennant (for Heritage),” he said.
“So I think I’ve turned that around.”
One of Popovic’s two pennant matches was an epic against Golf Australia national squad member Lucas Herbert with the pro eventually winning on the 19th hole against his Commonwealth opponent.
“It was great to play against such a nice guy and test yourself back in that competitive situation but in such a good spirit. I really enjoyed playing against Lucas – he’s a huge talent.”
Popovic has status on the Australasian PGA Tour through the 2017 season and intends to try his hand at the Web.Com Tour Q-School later this year.