Australia’s Brett Rumford has made a tentative return to the European circuit after a "scary and painful" experience, which resulted in surgery to remove part of his small intestine in South Africa recently.
The 37-year-old West Australian was playing in the Tshwane Open in South Africa when he became seriously ill midway through the event after eating an apple.
He was initially thought to be suffering from food poisoning, but after his condition worsened it was deemed surgery was necessary and the five-time European Tour winner ended up spending 17 days in a local hospital where 30cm of his small intestine was removed.
"I just had a blockage in my small intestine and I’ve had partial blockages before through eating apples," Rumford said.
"I had an apple through the turn on the Friday of the Tshwane Open. Sure enough, I had my lunch after I had finished and started to feel the waves of pain come on.
"It was a painful experience, pretty scary one, as well, being on the other side of the world … it got pretty ugly, pretty quick.
"I’ve had partial blockages before. I would send myself through to emergency, check myself in, get on a drip and have morphine and generally it would clear and work itself out, and that’s what I was thinking.
"I thought worst case, I’ll have to go in and spend a night in hospital, not the best prep for the weekend, but I thought, so be it, but it just didn’t want to release."
It wasn’t long before he realised the situation had become more than the usual blockage.
"They got me in under observation for pretty much the night," he said.
"They got me on some morphine, put in a nasal drip, which wasn’t very pleasant, and I’ve never had that before, and obviously I thought when they put in the nasal drip, I thought, you know, obviously it’s something a bit more serious here going on."
Rumford said when scans came back within about 20 hours being in the hospital "just nothing was improving."
"All my markers, my blood values were coming back, worsening and same with the scans on my small intestine, so the surgeon simply said, look, if we can go down orally and clear it that way, great. If not, we’ll go arthroscopic, have a bit of a look and clear it. And worst–case scenario, just have to open you up do and be a bit more intrusive and take out some small intestine, which they did.
"They removed 12 inches of small intestine, couldn’t release the blockage any other way."
He was hospitalised for 20 days.
"It was a painful experience, pretty scary one, as well, being on the other side of the world. Getting sick is never a good thing but these things happen and it just makes you appreciate how fortunate we are in life just to be fit and health and things can turn around pretty quickly.”
It had been thought that Rumford would miss the rest of the season as he recovered, but he was back exercising a few weeks after the operation and was cautiously optimistic ahead of the European Tour’s flagship event.
"I contemplated having the year out, of course, but I feel good," Rumford added.
"The last couple of weeks it’s really improved and there are still plenty of golf tournaments, there’s still a long year ahead.
"It would just be a cop-out excuse for me just to rack the golf clubs and call it a year."
Rumford missed the cut at the BMW Championship at Wentworth at the weekend. The tournament was won by six shots by young Korean Byeong-hun An. Victorians Richard Green and Marcus Fraser finished 22nd and 27th respectively.
By: Robert Grant