Planet Golf — 19 June 2015 by Jim Street
Dizzy spell sends Day to turf in Open

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wa. – A dizzy spell while walking to the green on the ninth hole at Chambers Bay on Friday afternoon sent Jason Day to the ground and a grandstand full of spectators into shock at the 115th U.S. Open.

Day was walking toward his ball in the bunker of the par-3 ninth hole when he fell to his left, his head hitting hard. The crowd gasped as the Australian lay motionless.

It initially appeared that Day may have slipped on the fescue grass that has proven slippery for fans, players and caddies. However, Day told Greg Norman of Fox Sports, “I’ve got vertigo. I’ll be OK.”

He was tended to by medical staff for several minutes before getting up a bit shakily. He chose to finish his round, hitting out of the bunker before two-putting for a bogey and an even-par 70. At 2-under, he’s likely to make the 36-hole cut.

“Jason was diagnosed to have suffered from Benign Positional Vertigo,” according to a statement issued by his agent early Friday evening. “He was treated locally by Dr. Robert Stoecker and Dr. Charles Souliere and is resting comfortably.

“His condition is being monitored closely and he is hopeful he will be able to compete this weekend in the final rounds of the U.S. Open.  “He wants to thank all who treated him at the Franciscan Medical Group and thank all of the fans and friends who have reached out to he and his family.”

Jason Spieth, playing in the same threesome as Day, said as far as he knew there was no indication that his playing partner was having any medical difficulty.

“It wasn’t mentioned by him earlier in the round to me,” Spieth said. “He may have mentioned it to Colin (caddie Colin Swatton), but I was walking with him, the next thing I know I turned around and I think he got dizzy and slipped and fell.

“So at that point, how can we help him out and kind of clear the scene and try and keep the cameras off and let him just rebound from being dizzy. That’s all it was, I think. I don’t think it was a slip off of the ground. I think it was maybe a little dehydration or something. I’m not really sure. He didn’t mention much after the round. We were trying to look out for him.”

Day, a three-time PGA winner, has been previously dealt with vertigo symptoms. He withdrew from the AT&T Byron Nelson in May citing dizziness he experienced during a practice round.

Leading into this week, Day said he and his team have been unable to figure out what may be triggering these spells of dizziness. He’s undergone several sleep studies, but hasn’t been given a definitive answer.

Tiger Woods, who was on the ninth tee waiting to play his final hole of this Grand Slam event was an eyewitness.

“I didn’t know what happened but knew he was laying down there,” Woods said. “I know he didn’t play in Dallas this year because of vertigo. I played with him at the Memorial and we talked about it in depth and he did a lot of blood panel and all that stuff. I hope he’s okay.

“I’ll call him as soon as I’m done here and see if he’s all right. He’s one of my really close friends.”

It was not immediately known if he would be able to play on Saturday.

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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