Injured golfer Jason Palmer says that he is on a deadline to start playing competitively on the European Tour again – or he will lose his card.
Palmer, 33, has been sidelined by an ongoing wrist problem since June 2015.
Although he has a three-year European Tour medical exemption, it runs out in 2018 and he must play at least five tournaments by the end of the year.
“No matter which avenue I turn down I can’t seem to choose the right path,” he told BBC Radio Leicester.
“I have put my faith in the doctors’ hands and so far none of the specialists I’ve seen has come up with the answer.
“I still have a medical exemption for the European Tour. I get to play five starts and then work out my new category based on how I perform in those five starts. But I’m told that, if I don’t take them this year, I will no longer have any category on the European Tour.
“I’d be back to where I started and have no status to play on any tour. That puts me under pressure to get myself back to fitness.”
The Leicestershire golfer has not played since missing the cut in Munich at the BMW International Open in June 2015 – a week after his career highlight, playing in the US Open at Chambers Bay.
But it is now exactly three years on from the two most successful weeks of his career. He won the Foshan Open in China, then finished second the week after in Oman to help him claim one of the Top 15 places on the Challenge Tour – and earn him his first European Tour card.
“It started off as a minor complaint which the doctors seemed to think rest would cure,” adds Palmer. “And I chose to speed things up with a cortisone injection which then changed the problem.
“It masked the worst pain but I was getting pain in my thumb which continued for a long time. I then had four various cortisone injections in various parts of my wrist, in different joints and tendons.
“Eventually, after all of those failed, I then had surgery in January. Surgery has worked to some extent but I was told it was a 50/50 shot and I’m kind of back to square one.
“I’ve started to play again in the last month but I’m still having issues and need to visit the specialist again. But, if I have the ambition to get out there on the golf course and, at 33, there’s still plenty of time to get back, as long as I can regain fitness.”