Jesper Parnevik told a newspaper in his native Sweden that his pro golf career likely is over because of a fractured vertebra in his lower back. He told the tabloid that doctors say he needs fusion surgery, which would mean he is done playing golf for a living.
Parnevik, 44, was more than the guy who used to wear a funny hat with the brim turned up. He was runnerup at the 1994 British Open and won five tournaments on the PGA Tour.
His lasting impression, though, will be that he was the first golfer to take a genuine, justified verbal swipe at Tiger Woods--who has been pretty much insulated from criticism. With the first bombshell about Woods' extramarital affairs, Parnevik said he regretted having introduced Woods to his wife Elin, who used to work as the Parneviks' nanny. Parnevik said Woods turned out to be not the man the Swede thought he was.
Parnevik is known as a jovial, genial fellow. But he felt duped, and showed there was more depth to his personality. His local connection is his close friendship with Deepdale pro Darrell Kestner.
They got to know each other on tours. Kestner gave Parnevik a tip that boosted him into contention at the 2005 PGA at Baltusrol. "Darrell is one of the best teachers in the U.S.," Parnevik said at the time. "To have his approval, to have him telling you you're working on the right things was encouraging."
Parnevik also gave high marks to Kestner's wife, Margie, who sang at the Parneviks' wedding in 1994. "She's a very good singer," Parnevik said at Baltusrol."She could be a perfect movie star. Put it that way."