LOS CABOS, Mexico — Cameron Young didn’t miss a beat in the first round of the World Wide Technology Championship.
On Thursday, in his return to the PGA Tour for the first time since getting bounced after the second of three events in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Young carded a bogey-free 65. What Young was missing was regular caddie Paul Tesori, who was back home in Florida nursing a back injury that has him considering surgery.
Tesori, who was a good enough player to earn his Tour card before switching to caddying, previously worked for Vijay Singh, Sean O’Hair and spent the past 12 years with Webb Simpson, during which time they won the 2012 U.S. Open and 2018 Players Championship. In late March, they parted ways and Tesori hooked up with Young, 26, the 2022 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, who entered the week ranked No. 17 in the world.
Tesori took X-rays of his arthritic knee and four damaged discs in his back and visited with a surgeon on Thursday to discuss a possible microdiscectomy while Young was shooting a bogey-free round that has him in contention for his first Tour title. Caddie David Cook, who has filled in for Simpson this season, lugged the bag at El Cardonal at Diamante, which caddies are calling one of the toughest walks on Tour.
“The ruptured disc was worse than he thought. There are two levels of the fragment so he’d have to go straight on and also on the side. It’s more difficult than a routine microdiscectomy,” Tesori wrote in a text message to Golfweek. “It is so hard to decide whether to do the surgery or not … My biggest thing I kept saying was, ‘Isn’t the surgery the safest route?’ He said emphatically no. He wants to do another MRI within a month. He believes there’s a 75 percent chance my body will start to heal the disc but no timeframe … He’s encouraged by the pain being reduced. He really doesn’t want to go the surgical route because of the overall health of my back, and now the difficulty of the disc.”
Despite the pain he’s been suffering, Tesori still hopes to be back on the bag when Young makes a start at the RSM Classic, the final FedEx Cup Fall event, which is a 90-minute drive from Tesori’s home.
“My goal is still to work RSM but I’m not sure how currently,” he said.