MIAMI (Reuters) - Sweden's Jesper Parnevik is hoping a back injury will not force him to retire from competitive golf.
"My intention is not to quit golf," Parnevik told the PGA Tour's website (www.pgatour.com). "It's a bad injury, but it doesn't have to be career ending."
The 44-year-old, a five-times winner on the PGA Tour, told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in an interview on Wednesday that because of a broken vertebrae in his lower back he might need to have joint fusion surgery "which means I can't play anymore."
But Parnevik was more optimistic in his interview with PGA Tour, saying he would visit a physiotherapist in Detroit next week with hopes of returning to the tour later this year.
The Swede has not won on the U.S. circuit since the 2001 Honda Classic and back problems forced him to withdraw from the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles last week even though he opened with a three-under-par 68.
Parnevik was scheduled to have hip surgery on Monday, but tests revealed he had the fracture vertebrae.
"I was hoping this could be my comeback year and that I could get the injuries taken care of," he said. "Each tournament I played (the pain) got worse and worse."
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina and Mark Lamport-Stokes in Vancouver; Editing by Alison Wildey)