‘It really kicked my butt’: Jason Day reveals ongoing vertigo battle

Jason Day

Jason Day revealed a recent bout with vertigo at the Masters.

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After enduring multiple struggles over the last several years, including injuries and a drop in on-course performance, former World No. 1 Jason Day has been resurgent of late, notching five top-10 finishes in his last seven events.

Though he’s climbed back to No. 34 in the world, it’s been five years since Day’s last win, the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship — a fact that he’s keenly aware of.

“I need to get back into the winner’s circle, I know that,” Day said at his Wednesday press conference at Quail Hollow. “I feel that my game is starting to round into some really good form where I know that I can win more consistently, it’s just a matter of putting myself into contention a little bit more. Not too worried about it too much. To be honest, I’ve got past the point of like thinking about winning and more of the point of just trying to go through the correct process every single day and then at some point it’s going to yield more confidence and better play. When that happens, it’s going to happen a lot, which would be nice.”

But in addition to getting used to the swing changes he’s been implementing with coach Chris Como, Day revealed another challenge he’s been facing: vertigo.

“So last round of the Masters I had vertigo, so that was obviously not fun to play in that final round,” he said. “We had to finish our third round Sunday morning and then I was sitting in the caddie hut and that’s when I got vertigo.”

Day posted a final-round 80 at Augusta National that Sunday to end up finishing T39 for the week. He withdrew from the following week’s RBC Heritage to run some tests.

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“It’s just hard because when you feel like you’re running on all cylinders, you’re making a lot of birdies, you’re doing a lot of good things, it’s difficult when sometimes the health plays a factor,” he said. “And then I am under a lot more stress this year than what I was in previous years just because of where I am week in and week out. I’ve been playing a lot better so there’s obviously more stress and when you have more stress, your immune system can get compromised and for me it was just unfortunate that happened in the last round.”

In addition to the vertigo he experienced at the Masters, Day also revealed revealed that he suffered a small bout of vertigo at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where he finished T5. Vertigo has afflicted Day since his first bout at the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, when he collapsed during the second round.

“I didn’t want to talk about it too much, especially the Match Play because it was just like a small bout of it, but it really kicked my butt at Augusta,” Day said. “That was like kind of the time where I had to take a step back.”

Day said he thinks the vertigo may be returning because of the stress he’s been enduring on the course — a bit of a double-edged sword. The better he plays, the more often he’s in contention and the more stress he feels.

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“Overall I know exactly what happened,” Day said. “When you put yourself under stressful conditions all the time, sooner or later your immune system gets compromised. I wasn’t eating as healthy as I should have, so I made some changes to my diet. Then, yeah, it’s a virus that attacks my inner ear, which is the vestibular nerve in the ear, so when that happens you can’t get rid of a virus obviously, the only way you can do it is suppress it. I just needed to take some time off, that was pretty much plain and simple. And then obviously on top of it just rework how I come to the golf course and work as well.”

With three weeks of rest now under his belt, Day is hopeful that he can regain the form he had going prior to the Masters.

“Looking forward to getting some good momentum going not only this week but next week and then the PGA after that,” he said. “Overall I’m very pleased with how things are, I just would like to try and get myself closer to the lead on the weekend to give myself a chance at winning an event here soon.”

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.