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Veteran tour pro John Senden has revealed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
The two-time PGA Tour winner made the announcement after missing the cut at the Australian Open last week.
Speaking to ABC Sport, the 52-year-old disclosed that he is taking medication to mitigate the effects of the condition, insisting that he intends to keep on playing as long as possible.
“I’ve got to stay in the gym, stay fit and stay open, because Parkinson’s wants to close you down, wants to make you feel a bit more depressed,” said Senden, who won the 2006 John Deere Classic and the Valspar Championship eight years later.
“I’ve got to stay playing, stay light-hearted about everything. It doesn’t actually undermine my strength, it just sort of makes me feel a bit weird sometimes.”
The 2006 Australian Open champion added that adrenaline can bring on ‘episodes’ in his right arm.
“I can be on the range warming up and feeling really good, but as soon as the anticipation of hitting the first shot or a difficult shot or even the name called on the first tee, all of a sudden my right arm starts shaking and I can’t control that sometimes,” he said.
“I sort of stretch it or trigger it or get some bigger movements to get through this. It’s not going to go away, but I’m still able to play and still enjoying golf.”
This is not the first major health issue to impact the Senden family. In 2017, his son Jacob was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Senden subsequently played the next two seasons on the PGA Tour on a ‘Major Medical Extension’, as allowed under the tour’s family crisis provision.
Now 19, Jacob is in good health and was well enough to caddie his day at the Australian Open, where he missed the cut by a shot.
Being together this week has definitely been an inspiration for me especially, and for other kids out there watching him grow over the last six years,” Senden told the PGA of Australia website.
“He’s been looking good and feeling like he needs to take it by the horns now and go and live his life.”
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