In this week’s Player Blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Kristoffer Broberg reflects on being back in the winner’s circle after six years of injury troubles that almost saw him give up the game.
Kristoffer Broberg, statements
“For the last six years, I’ve felt like every time I’ve taken one small step forward, something would push me back again, and that’s why being back in the winner’s circle means so much. I’ve been through so much since my first win in 2015. I went from winning in China and being 65th in the World Rankings and going in the right direction, to having so many injuries, and surgeries, and wondering if I’d ever hit a golf ball or play tournament golf again. They say when you are going up Everest you are climbing every day but when you get to the top you’re only going down, and that’s what I’ve felt like every time I’ve taken a step to coming back. It’s been a really tough journey, so to be back to where I think I belong now, has been really emotional”.
“With that first win, I didn’t even celebrate because I was thinking that was the starting point for me. I didn’t have any injuries and I played really well. And then I hurt my calf muscle in Dubai in the final event of the year. It didn’t seem that significant and I didn’t take care of it, but I thought for a while that was the main key to my issues. And then I had more injury issues, and in 2016 hell just started. As a last option, I went to the Swedish Olympic Committee for another opinion. One of the physios I have worked with – Per Johannson – had a good friend who is one of the doctors for the Skiing team. We went to him, and he told me there was a surgery I could have. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to do it because it was going to be 50/50 whether it’s good or bad and some athletes don’t come back from it. But it was the only option I had. This was the last chance for my career, so I just tried it. They went into my hip without x-rays or MRI scans and then they saw a lot of bone structures on my hip. They shaved that off, and then I had 6 months of rehab. It was a long six months. I was so weak on my left side because I’d been on crutches for a long time – including when I’d had the big surgery on my knee – and I needed to rebuild my left side. I couldn’t put any pressure on my foot for five weeks, but after that I could at least walk with crutches”.
“One of the things that helped me through was just setting myself physical goals to get stronger, when I couldn’t hit golf balls. I was in the gym seven days a week, and I went through changing my diet, and I’m in really good shape now because of it but I needed that new goal to move forward. But things don’t get better instantly, and it took me a while to realise that because my body has changed, I also needed to change how I play and practice. I tried a couple of small comebacks because I wanted to get into tournaments again, but it didn’t feel right. When I started to try come back and play in 2020 I really thought it was the end, because I didn’t feel great, and it felt so bad to hit a golf ball because I was trying to hit it like I was before I had any of the injuries. I was just constantly searching to get this feeling or that feeling that I had had before all of the problems started. But my body had changed, and I needed to change my set up and change my swing a little bit. Once I realised that, it was easier to focus on what I needed to do. Now I try to focus a lot on my set up and body angles, and just making sure my spine and hips are in the correct position so I can swing it. A lot of the work I do now on the course is just trying to hit shapes – draws or fades – and even on the driving range now I’m not doing any super technical stuff anymore. I’m just trying to feel the shots rather than trying to think I need to do this, this and this to my swing. I just want to feel the weight of the club and have a free motion through the hip. Of course, there’s still a lot of scar tissue so it can be sore and I need to do exercises every single day, but now at least I can trust it because there is no pain there anymore. I still struggle with trusting my driver sometimes because that was the worst club when it all started, but I am a lot more confident with the rest of my game”.