I almost quit, says Appleby

Stuart Appleby has admitted that he considered quitting professional golf in recent years as his recurring back problems troubled him.

But Appleby, 46, is surging into the Web.com finals in America this week with renewed optimism and under the pressure that only professional golfers know.

Unless he wins one of the 25 PGA Tour cards on offer in the four-week finals campaign, he will be in "no man's land and pretty much out of a job''.

The Victorian, a nine-time winner on the world's most lucrative tour, spent much of 2017 writing to tournaments looking for a start on sponsor's exemptions. "I've never written so much since I was at school,'' he told Golf Australia's Inside the Ropes podcast.

Appleby told hosts Andy Maher, Mark Hayes and Jo Charlton that his despair had been complete at times as he battled the back injury that ultimately forced him to surgery, and a long period of rehabilitation.

"I thought: 'Man this is getting hard,'' he said. "You're not always having your body there. I guess you expect it to be there, week-in, week-out. Really spending four or five years having to manage it, and pulling out of quite a few tournaments considering right my whole career I've never had to pull out of anything due to pain.

"So that's certainly made a big dent in my ability to go 'what is performance? What level do I want to play at, or can I play at? All of those things got kicked around knowing that my body wouldn't wake up every day and feel like, confidence got absolutely hammered, it's been difficult.

"But at the same time, I'm like, it's not an easy sport, and the great thing about golf is you do play your way into a field. There's no coach kicking you based on your form, you are your form, you are your coach, you are the selector and if you don't make the grade, you don't get to turn up to the tournaments next week, next year, whatever it is.''

NOTE: Appleby carded a four-over par 75 in the first round of the web.com Tour's Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship today. Scott Hend and Brett Drewitt (70) were the best of the Australians.

Appleby's interview and the Inside The Ropes podcast is here.

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