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Hank Keuhne upbeat after surgery

While admitting he has a long recovery road ahead of him, former U.S. Amateur champion Hank Kuehne said major surgery on his left arm and elbow was successful and he expects to be better than ever once he is healthy.

``To tell you the truth, I think I'm going to get stronger,'' Kuehne said Thursday from Dallas, where he is beginning rehabilitation.

Kuehne discussed his surgery because of comments by his father, Ernie Kuehne, that the injury was ``career-threatening'' and a ``major setback.''

In an operation last week in Utah, doctors cut and moved his left biceps tendon, which was irritating a nerve, then cut the ulnar nerve and transferred it from the bottom side of the left elbow to the forearm side.

It could be at least three months before he can hit balls again.

``I'm not upset at my father. I'm not upset he put that information out,'' Kuehne said. ``As far as his views, any surgery is career-threatening. It was pretty major arm surgery, but it was 100 percent successful. I wish he had not put it in those terms.''

Kuehne, who can hit the ball as long as Tiger Woods but not nearly as accurately, completed an amazing return from a bout with alcoholism to win the U.S. Amateur in 1998 at Oak Hill.

But he has struggled as a professional, unable to get far enough out of the qualifying stages to earn a spot on either the PGA Tour or the Tour.

The surgery last week was his second in the last five months. He also had shoulder surgery, and returned six weeks later but missed the cut in the tournaments he played — the International and the Canadian Open.

``Now that I've had a second surgery, I have new goals and new things to look at,'' he said. ``I'm 100 percent dedicated, doing everything I can do get ready. I've never been one to make excuses. That's part of being a professional athlete.''



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