Arthritis flare-up may put Murphy out of tournament


BETHESDA -- Bob Murphy, whose victory at last week's Nationwide Championship was his third this year on the PGA Senior Tour, said yesterday that he was considering pulling out of the 16th Senior Open because a flare-up of an arthritic condition.

"I am doubtful that I will play," said Murphy, 52, who is ranked third on the Senior Tour money list with $708,086. "I tried to hit balls [Tuesday], and it is working on mainly my right hip and up into my middle back, so you don't make a good swing. I have been praying that the weather would change and that I'd feel better. So I'll try again today [to practice] and see."

The forecast for more wet weather is foreboding for Murphy, who has suffered from psoriatic arthritis since 1982. Murphy played with the condition until 1988, when it began to affect his hands and he quit to become an analyst for ESPN. He underwent treatment at the Northern Virginia Arthritis Clinic in 1989 and, within four months, found much relief after being given antibiotics.

His time spent analyzing other players' swings has helped Murphy. So has maturity. "I am far more patient than I was as a younger man," said Murphy. But, with a smile, he added: "I looked up the definition of the word patience in an Irish dictionary, and it wasn't there."

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