UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Jason Day collapsed Friday at the U.S. Open while walking downhill to the 237-yard, par-3 ninth green, his last hole. Day, 27, has dealt with vertigo in the past, and managed to complete his round at Chambers Bay.
Day suffered from benign positional vertigo, according to his agent, Bud Martin.
“(Day) was treated locally by Dr. Robert Stoecker and Dr. Charles Souliere and is resting comfortably,” said Martin in a statement. “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.”
Initial reports indicated that he slipped on the matted-down grass and that he was holding his right wrist. Justin Rose, who played in Day’s threesome, said he thought Day might have twisted his ankle.
“I was walking with him, and the next thing I know I turned around and I think he got dizzy and slipped and fell,” said Jordan Spieth, the third competitor in the group.
Day’s caddie and instructor, Col Swatton, was the first to comfort him. Two paramedics rushed to the scene and took his blood pressure and vitals. Day’s wife, Ellie, and Martin, soon arrived and stood by the golfer’s side. Several minutes later, Day was able to stand and walk gingerly to his ball and resume playing his final hole from a back bunker. He splashed out to 12 feet and two-putted for bogey.
“For him to finish the round, it was pretty strong of him,” Spieth said.
Immediately after putting out, Day went to his knees beside the ninth green. He was taken to the scoring trailer to sign his card and then carted away in a van.
It was shades of Ken Venturi, who suffered heat exhaustion before winning the 1964 U.S. Open when it was still a 36-hole final-round pressure-cooker.
Day withdrew from the AT&T Byron Nelson on May 27 after playing five holes in the pro-am and walked off the course suffering from severe dizziness. Day competed in The Memorial two weeks ago and missed the cut. When asked on Tuesday to provide an update on his health, he said, “I feel good. I had three sleep studies done. I had a lot of blood tests done. I had an MRI on my head and my back, my head and my neck. And everything came back negative. So I have no idea what that was, other than I just may have been exhausted.”
Day went on to say that he also had a tendency to overdo his training.
“I was doing two-a-days every day coming into tournaments and then on top of it I was doing practice, playing competitive golf and then trying to balance that with family, as well. It’s just a full-time-kind of gig there,” he said. “I had the shakes and the tingling up my arms. And the loss of energy and strength was probably caused by that. I’ve got severe sleep deprivation, so I guess that’s part and parcel of having a kid, as probably everyone knows that in this room. And that’s just life. So you’ve just got to deal with it. I feel good this week. I just literally walked into the room and come off a half-an-hour nap, so I’m all good to go.”
Tiger Woods, playing one group behind Day, witnessed the scene from high above at the ninth tee and said he had talked with Day extensively about his illness.
“He’s one of my really close friends,” Woods said. “I’d like to get out of here and see if he’s OK.”
Day, the No. 10-ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking, is in the thick of the championship after shooting an even-par 70 for a 36-hole total of 138. However, the more pressing concern is his health, a viewpoint expressed by Rose.
“At least he has a chance to recover for tomorrow, hopefully,” Rose said. “I’m not sure if it’s one of those things that’s 10 minutes or a day; I don’t know. Hopefully he’ll be all right.”