When we last spoke to Paul Ulibarri, he was on his way to figure out just how bad his finger injury was. After hurting the finger right before the 2016 PDGA World Championships and using a modified grip in the tournament before pulling out, his status for this past weekend’s Ledgestone Insurance Open on the Disc Golf Pro Tour was questionable.
He ended up getting the clearance to compete, but had to use a modified grip all week long which led to a finish in a tie for 46th. Being forced to balance recovery and competition can be hard for any athlete. After Ulibarri finished up his final round we got the details on the finger and his performance.
How’s the finger?
“It’s alright. I went and got it x-rayed before I played this week to make sure I didn’t do further damage to it or I’d be risking more injury by playing. I figured out what was wrong. It’s actually a small fracture called a Mallet Fracture. The doctor said as soon as it wasn’t sore I could play again. I asked if I could play this week and as long as I wouldn’t be putting extra stress on it I would be ok to play.”
All things considered after you played with a modified grip all weekend and you still finished in the cash are you feeling good about the weekend?
“Kind of, yeah. It was an up and down struggle. I met a lot of new people! I gave me a good perspective of playing with guys outside of the top 30. It was fun to battle and to cash. I had to play as good as I could just to finish where I did. Good experience!”
Finger feeling any better now than at the start?
“Yeah, I think so. I didn’t put any pressure on it at all except for an occasional side arm, but even then it was just resting on the disc. Hopefully this coming weekend I’ll be closer to 100%. I don’t know how good I’ll be after basically two weeks away from top form and playing with this modified grip.”
“My hope is I can bounce back quickly. I’m sore, no doubt there. My shoulder is sore too from all the side arms. Just takes time.”
Ulibarri hopes to feel better for this weekend’s Brent Hambrick Memorial Open so he can regain the form he was previously in prior to the injury. He said he still has the drive to get a win in the final Disc Golf Pro Tour stop in a few weeks and hopefully qualify for the Tour Championship.