Professional Golfers With Knee Replacements

4 PGA Pros Who Had Their Knees Replaced (and Returned to Competive Golf!)

Wait a second, you can actually still play PGA TOUR LEVEL GOLF with a new knee?  Yes indeed, seeing the list of professional golfers with knee replacements isn’t short and they all returned to active playing.  

professional golfers with knee replacements

Now don’t expect your game to suddenly approach these pros but its nice to know that playing recreational golf is very possible after knee replacement.   Below are 4 well known professional PGA Golfers who have had their knees replaced.

Fred Funk –  Known as one of the straightest drivers of the golf ball while on the PGA tour, Funk finally had enough of his arthritic right knee at age 53.  In November of 2019, Dr. R. David Heekin, medical director of the Orthopedic Center of Excellence at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Jacksonville, Fla performed the surgery.  

Funk become the first PGA Tour player in history to return from total knee replacement and win a PGA sanctioned event.  He won the 2010 JELD-WEN Tradition tournament on the PGA Champions Tour in Sunriver, Oregon.

After winning over 29 PGA tour events in his career, he also became the 4th player in PGA tour history to make the cut at a PGA Tour event at the age of 64.  He currently plays on the PGA Champions Tour.

Funk is now a spokesperson for Stryker Corporation as he was given a Stryker Triathlon® Knee System replacement.   He returned to a full touring schedule after only 3 months of rehabilitation.

pro golfers total knee replacement

Peter Jacobsen – In 2008, long time PGA tour professional and current senior tour player and analyst Peter Jacobsen had his left knee replaced by Dr. Mort Bertram in Naples, FL.  Jacobsen had the Exactech Optetrek Knee System 

Even with his knee pain and arthritis Jacobsen was able to put together 6 Top 10 finishes on the Senior PGA tour.  He was able to return to golf 5 months after surgery and still continued with other orthopedic issues including spine and knee injuries.

Jacobsen has had a hip replacement, multiple back surgeries and a rotator cuff repair all within a 3 year span.  Too often one injury can lead to a cascade of other ailments and if not treated early enough numerous issues can hobble golfers.

Nancy Lopez – Lopez, one of the all time legends of the LPGA tour winning over 48 events, eventually had her knee replaced after trying all other methods including stem cell therapy, injections and medicine regimens.  Lopez is a World Golf Hall of Fame inductee.

In 2017 Lopez had a Zimmer Biomet knee replacement on her right knee.  Lopez is not currently competing regularly however does note that she can walk much more freely and participate in golf.

Mark McNulty –  The Zimbabwe born PGA professional had his right knee replaced by Dr. Richard Berger at Rush University Medical Center in May 2010 after years of suffering.  Within a year of returning to the PGA Champions Tour he secured several top 10 finishes

McNulty has over 50 professional golf victories including the European Tour, Sunshine Tour, PGA and PGA Champions Tour.

Bottom line is that if these PGA golfers can return to elite level golfing, you the amateur golfer certainly can return to golf after proper physical therapy and rehab.

4 Well Know PGA Players With Knee Replacements

Fred Funk – 53 years old when knee replaced

Peter Jacobsen – 54 years old when knee replaced

Nancy Lopez – 60 years old when knee replaced

Mark McNulty – 57 years old when knee replaced

Knee Replacement Nugget: Not only golfers have had knee successful replacements. Check out these 10 Famous Athletes With Knee Replacements.

About Jeffrey Roth MPT

Owner and operator of Roth Therapy Services in Pittsburgh, PA focusing on in home rehabilitation physical therapy services.


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