- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2012

KAPALUA, HAWAII (AP) - Lucas Glover sprained his right knee in a freak paddle board accident and might not be able to start his season at the Tournament of Champions.

“Just fell off the board,” Glover said Thursday. “Done that a thousand times.”

The simple fall into the water wasn’t harmless this time, though. The former U.S. Open champion was on his paddle board Saturday morning in the Pacific _ one of his favorite hobbies when he comes to Hawaii _ when he lost his balance and fell.

“My foot caught on the edge of the board, my body went one way and my knee went the other,” Glover said. “I knew immediately I done a little something. I just wasn’t sure how bad.”

Tests an hour later revealed a sprain of the medial collateral ligament. Glover spent the next few days icing his knee and resting, and showed up Thursday morning hoping to play in the pro-am. On the practice range, however, he couldn’t properly transfer his weight from the right side and had to pull out. Stephen Ames, who vacations in west Maui over the holidays, replaced him.

Glover has not given up on playing when the first round begins Friday.

“If you put a gun to my head, I could have played today, but I don’t think I’d have been effective,” said Glover, who qualified for this winners-only event with his victory at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. “If I play tomorrow, I’m definitely going to have to rest today. I hate to miss the pro-am, I’ve never missed one. I’m 50-50 tomorrow. In order to move that percentage up, I’m going to have to rest today.”

What might keep him out, however, is the Plantation Course at Kapalua, carved out of a mountain with severe elevation changes. Players are allowed to use carts in practice and in the pro-am. They have to walk when the competition begins.

“If it were next week, I’d feel better about it,” he said, referring to the flat course of Waialae for the Sony Open.

If he can’t play, it would be the second straight year that a former U.S. Open champion had to withdraw. Geoff Ogilvy, the two-time defending champion at Kapalua, last year cut open his finger on coral while swimming in the ocean and wound up missing the first month of the year.

“I was doing what I like to do. I was living,” Glover said. “It’s not like I was showboating. Just one of those freak deals. Bad luck.”

Even if he can’t play, or if the knee sprain doesn’t improve, Glover isn’t going anywhere. His parents arrived Wednesday from South Carolina.

“They haven’t had a vacation like this in 20 years,” he said. “I’m going to be with them if nothing else. I’m not all too down about this. I hate to come out here and not be able to compete. But it could be worse. I could be somewhere not as pretty.”

Glover hopes it doesn’t cut into his plans for a big West Coast Swing. He plans to play in just about every tournament except the Humana Challenge to try to build up his world ranking (No. 69) and qualify for a pair of World Golf Championships early in the year in Arizona and Miami.

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