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Arron Oberholser unable to defend title

Arron Oberholser's season started poorly, and it keeps getting worse.

Oberholser won't be able to defend his lone PGA Tour victory this week at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am because of a bulging disk in his back, which likely will keep him out until March.

"This couldn't have happened at a worse time for me," Oberholser said. "Missing the chance to defend my AT&T title on one of my favorite courses in the world is just awful. I said last year this is my fifth major and I meant it. But right now, I have to focus on the healing process, and that may take some time."

There were signs that Oberholser might have a rocky start to this year.

He opened with a 70 in the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, then withdrew before the second round when his back injury flared up. A week later, he went to his locker at the Sony Open and found his name tag missing, replaced by Monday qualifier Scott Piercy.

The locker room attendants at Waialae told a bewildered Oberholser they had heard he had gone home to Arizona.

"I never withdrew," Oberholser told them.

He was given another locker, punched in the electronic combination and stared into an empty locker.

"Um, excuse me," Oberholser said to the attendant. "Any idea who (took) the three dozen Titleist balls in my old locker? Brand new? Not even on the market yet?"

The Pro-Am was only a few hours away, and Oberholser said he had enough golf balls in his bag from Kapalua to get by. Turns out it didn't matter, however, because he withdrew a few hours later when back pains persisted. And he hasn't played since then.

February 7, 2007


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