Tacoma’s Jason Stockton is a chiropractor and golf nut who is working in a much bigger office this week.
The head doctor at Tacoma Family Chiropractic, Stockton has joined the United States Golf Association’s wellness team for this week’s U.S. Open at famed Oakmont Country Club.
It is the best of both worlds: He gets to help the world’s best golfers get healthy, and then he gets to go watch them tackle the hardest test in the sport.
“This is a love-of-the-game thing,” Stockton said. “Taking care of these professional golfers is such a cool thing.”
Stockton, 45, isn’t new to treating high-profile athletes. He is the team chiropractor for the Tacoma Rainiers and the golf teams at the University of Washington, University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University.
In the fall of 2014, Stockton was playing golf at his home course at Tacoma Country and Golf Club when he received a phone call from Jeff Poplarski, a chiropractor out of New York who is the chairman of the USGA’s wellness team.
The USGA wellness team consists of 137 different types of health-care providers — chiropractors, athletic trainers, physical therapists and massage therapists — who represent nine different state, including Washington, and join forces for the association’s biggest championships.
Poplarski was in need of another chiropractor to work at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay last year. Stockton did not need to be asked twice.
That week, Stockton volunteered for three five-hour shifts, then watched the rest of the tournament free of charge.
He made such an impression, Poplarski asked whether Stockton wanted to work future U.S. Opens — like this week.
“If they like you, you stay,” Stockton said.
Again, not only is Stockton a volunteer for two shifts this week — 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday — he pays his own travel and lodging costs.
Fortunately he is friends with a couple of chiropractors from the area, Eric Miller of Port Orchard, and Brian Stemp of Lakewood — so they can curtail some of those expenses.
Stockton will treat golfers, caddies and USGA officials in a big trailer, which serves like a multifaceted doctor’s office. There is even a hyperbaric oxygen chamber on site this week.
The trailer is usually found near the practice facilities. This week, it is located on the north side of Oakmont’s driving range.
“I like to talk, but if someone doesn’t talk a lot, I won’t talk a lot,” Stockton said. “And if someone is chatty, I am chatty.”
Of course, Stockton knows that the U.S. Open falls on Father’s Day weekend. He vows he will never be apart from his wife, Courtney, and children, Connor (13) and Cameron (10) on that holiday.
He flies home to Tacoma on Saturday night.
“Eventually I am hoping to turn these trips into a family week,” Stockton said.
Puyallup’s Ryan Moore was the last player to register Tuesday, arriving at 3:30 p.m. (PDT). He hit a quick half-bucket of range balls, then went out to play the back nine holes. He missed the cut at Oakmont in 2007 — his first U.S. Open as a professional. … Olympia’s Andres Gonzales played early Tuesday and is first to tee off Thursday at 3:45 a.m. (PDT) off the 10th tee.