2005: Mallon, Toms ailments hit golf’s heart

Birdies and bogeys took a back seat to news that David Toms and Meg Mallon both had to be hospitalized with serious heart ailments.

Mallon, 42, experienced a wide range of emotions at the Solheim Cup Sept. 11 at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind. When she made par on the 16th hole in her singles match against Karen Stupples it assured the U.S. the final half-point needed to win the Cup. Nearly an hour later, after the closing ceremonies, Mallon felt dizzy, her heart was racing and she was taken to the nearby Heart Center of Indiana.

Four days later, Toms, 38, had played nine holes of the 84 Lumber Classic at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pa., when he grabbed his chest, complained about not being able to breathe

and was taken off the course in an ambulance. He was first treated at nearby Uniontown Hospital, but shortly thereafter was taken by helicopter to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Presbyterian Hospital for tests and treatment.

Both have Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), a rapid heart rate condition that originates above the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart. Mallon – whose heart rate reached 290 beats per minute – underwent a series of tests, and physicians performed a Radio Frequency Catheter Abilation, a treatment that uses electrical energy to destroy tissues in the heart that cause rhythm disturbances. She was released Sept. 14 and flew to her Florida home two days later.

“She’s doing just great and is in wonderful spirits,” said Octagon’s Vernon Spratley, Mallon’s agent. “She’s thrilled to be back home.”

Toms – whose heart rate reached 170 beats per minute – initially was listed in critical condition but was upgraded to good condition late Thursday evening. He was released Sept. 16 following additional tests and planned to play in this week’s Presidents Cup.

“It was a scary situation,” Toms said after returning to the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. “I really didn’t know what was going on. It got obviously kind of hairy there for about 45 minutes. I knew right away my vitals weren’t very good, and I was hurting real bad in my chest. At that point, they don’t know if you’re having a heart attack. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, really.

“One girl started to try to put an IV in my left arm, and I said, ‘I’ve got to go hit my second shot or I’m going to be disqualified.’ ”

Toms said his latest heart-related bout was one of about half a dozen he has suffered the last four years.

One at the NEC Invitational in Akron last month prompted him to have a physical exam, but doctors found no problems.

If he weren’t playing in the Presidents Cup, he said he would have stayed in Pittsburgh and had corrective surgery. Instead, Toms will take medication, play his matches, then after the competition have an operation (the same RFCA that Mallon underwent) that can last as long as six hours.

– Staff and wire reports

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