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South Carolina’s top player discusses van crash, injury after win

South Carolina’s top player discusses van crash, injury after win

It’s safe to say Nathan Franks is never going to forget about the Schenkel Invitational.

Sure, he won the tournament for his second victory in three months as a junior on the South Carolina golf team. But the trip home is what’s going to be the most memorable.

The Gamecocks’ team van t-boned a car that ran a red light on a highway in Waynesboro, Georgia, about an hour and a half from Columbia, South Carolina, on its way home from the tournament Sunday. Sitting in the passenger seat, Franks initially thought he was just sore from the collision. Turns out, he has a hairline fracture on his right elbow, and South Carolina’s best player will be out through at least the SEC Championship.

“I knew I was sore, but I didn’t think there was really anything wrong,” Franks told Golfweek. “But when I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t straighten it.”

Outside of whiplash, there were no other major injuries to players or coaches in the van. South Carolina was not at fault, per the police report.

South Carolina’s Nathan Franks. (Photo: South Carolina Athletics)

Franks recalls the accident vividly.

The team was close to pulling off into a gas station to get some donuts about 100 yards past the intersection where the accident occurred.

“We had a green light,” Franks said. “This lady just kept going through the red light and tried to turn left. She pulled straight into us, and then we crashed into a Georgia Power truck.”

Gamecocks assistant Brady Gregor was driving the sprinter van, which included eight passengers in total. Gregor’s quick thinking to swerve right avoided a direct collision, but Gregor said he thinks the power truck also saved the van from going off an 8-foot embankment.

Franks’ parents, who were attending the tournament in Statesboro, Georgia, pulled up to the scene shortly after the accident happened. After determining everything was OK, they loaded most of the equipment into their car while some players loaded into it and others into head coach Bill MacDonald’s car, who was driving a couple miles ahead of the van.

Upon getting back to campus, Franks went through a normal routine, including unloading clubs and gear, before going to bed. He and others underwent a wellness evaluation.

The next day is when he found out about the elbow injury. He would be stuck in a sling for a month, being sidelined through at least the SEC Championship.

All of this coming in a stretch of the best golf of his life.

“Obviously I’m…


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