Tyler McCumber shakes off gory finger injury to contend at the Genesis Invitational
No pain, no gain for Tyler McCumber.
The 29-year-old Ponte Vedra Beach resident and former Florida Gator followed a first-round, bogey-free 67 on Thursday, then got his score as low as 10 under on Friday before settling for a 68 and a 7-under 135 and in a tie for second, five shots being leader Sam Burns.
Also tied at 7-under is the world No. 1-ranked Dustin Johnson (67), Jason Kokrak (68) and Joaquin Niemann (68). Jordan Spieth (68) is tied for sixth at 6-under.
McCumber, a Nease graduate nearly didn't play after smashing his hand in a sliding-glass at his hotel room and requiring surgery to have the fingernail removed.
“Tuesday morning I was coming out to the course and I went to open the windows to cool off the hotel room before I left,” he explained. “It went underneath the back of the nail bed and lifted half of the back of the nail up.”
McCumber booked a flight back home to Florida Tuesday night figuring he wouldn’t be able to play, but visited the Tour’s on-site doctor on Wednesday, and the emergency surgeon happened to be a hand specialist.
“He said, ‘We can bandage it up, obviously you can’t play because it’s just too painful, or we can do a procedure where we just rip off the nail, but half of the nail is still intact.’ So, he numbed the finger and ripped off the nail,” said McCumber, who videoed the procedure and said, “watching the video is almost more gross than in person.”
McCumber hit five balls on the range after the procedure.
“Basically, I was able to kind of see if I could hit balls that next day and I was. I just kind of altered my glove and kept this on all day and putted with it on,” he said. “It’s just gone numb. It hurt this morning a little bit. It’s a lot less without the fingernail on there, but you can tell it’s just kind of bleeding all the way through this bandage. Yeah, I mean, Riviera will take your mind off the pain.”
So much so that McCumber shot one of only two bogey-free rounds on Thursday.
He got off to a blazing start in the second round. Beginning at the short but deceptively hard par-4 10th hole, McCumber drove into rough to the left of the green, but pitched out within inches and tapped in for birdie.
McCumber then made a 3-foot birdie putt on the next hole, the par-5 11th, and birdied the next par-5 on the back, No. 17, by a putt of similar length.
McCumber turned and eagled the par-5 first hole on a 30-foot putt and birdied No. 3 on a tap-in. That put him at 6 under for the day.
He then slipped with bogeys on three of his last six holes but unless someone comes out of the late groups, McCumber would play in the final twosome with Burns.
The Times-Union staff contributed to this report.