UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Golf became secondary Friday afternoon when Jason Day collapsed near the ninth green, the last hole of his second round at the U.S. Open.
Jordan Spieth, playing in the same group, tried to shield photographers from snapping pictures of a prone Day. A concerned Tiger Woods, knowing Day has been experiencing health issues, looked down anxiously from the upper tee box on No. 9. Players stopped practice sessions on the range to watch Day on a nearby big screen.
Paramedics attended to Day, who was still wobbly as he finished the hole. He said he was too shaky and asked for help to remove a rock behind his ball before playing a bunker shot. He closed with a two-putt bogey.
Day told paramedics that he’s been dealing with vertigo. He cited dizziness three weeks ago when he pulled out of the AT&T Byron Nelson. At that time, he said he’s had blood work, sleep studies and MRIs on his head, neck and back, trying to pinpoint the problem.
He had a similar episode at Firestone last year and was forced to withdraw. He’s reportedly had symptoms dating back to 2010.
“I was walking with him and the next thing I know I turned around and I think he got dizzy and fell,” Spieth said. “At that point, it’s how can we help him out and kind of clear the scene and let him rebound.”
Day is three shots off the lead after shooting a 70 for a 36-hole total of 2-under 138.
“I played with him at Memorial and we talked about it in depth. They did blood panel (tests) and all that stuff,” said Woods, who added that Day is a close friend. “I’ll call him as soon as I’m done here and see if he’s all right.”
Bud Martin, Day’s agent, said doctors determined Day was suffering from benign positional vertigo. Day is hopeful he will be able to compete this weekend. Day’s wife, who is pregnant with their second child, is with him at the tournament.
Spieth, Westwood rip 18
The 18th hole, as a par 4, won’t make Spieth’s or Lee Westwood’s list of all-time favorites. Both were steaming after making big numbers – Spieth took a 6, Westwood made 7 – on the hole that can play as a par 4 or 5. TV microphones picked up Spieth saying, “the dumbest hole I’ve played in my life.”
Spieth said the 514-yard hole leaves a tiny landing area of “5-6 yards” because the slope of the fairway steers drives, even left-center drives, into a bunker on the right. He said he wasn’t about to hit 3-iron off the tee and 3-wood into the green.
“Doesn’t make much sense,” he said. “There’s a group of about 10-12 guys that can fly it 310 that have an entirely different hole to play.”
Westwood tweeted: “Played great today. Shame about 18. I know I made triple but it’s a stupid par 4 and a great par 5.”
Spieth anticipates the hole will play as a par 4 on Sunday “so I’ve got to get over it.” Asked his strategy Sunday, Spieth cracked, “I’m going to hit a punch slice.”
Tiger Woods shot 76, finishing 16 over (156) in two rounds. His worst two-round score in a PGA event was a 157 at Bay Hill as an amateur.
“I wanted to shoot 5 or 6 today, but I wanted to be on the other side (under par instead of over),” Woods said. “I hit it a little better but again I made nothing. I didn’t make any putts the first two days.”
Other notables to miss the cut: Rickie Fowler, Graeme McDowell, defending champion Martin Kaymer, Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson.
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