Why this major winner and Ryder Cupper thinks he ‘underachieved’

To the casual viewer, 42-year-old Jimmy Walker has had a heck of a career. After two decades as a professional, Walker has amassed more than $26 million in earnings, has a major championship on his resume (the 2016 PGA) and five other career Tour wins. He played on two Ryder Cup teams, and a Presidents Cup team. Pretty impressive!

But in an appearance on this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Walker says he still isn’t satisfied with his accomplishments.

“I think I’ve probably underachieved,” Walker said. “I just had some health setbacks that I would have loved to have not had. Who knows what could have happened? But that’s how it’s been.

“I’m very proud of what I’ve done and what I’ve accomplished,” he continued. “I don’t think I’m done yet. I’m starting to feel really good about golf again. I want more. So that’s why I keep banging away at it.”

Sean Foley talks to Tiger Woods
‘I think I over-coached him’: Sean Foley reflects on his years with Tiger Woods
By: Jessica Marksbury

The health setback Walker was referring to is his battle with Lyme disease, which began after Walker returned from a hunting trip in November 2016 but took months to officially diagnose.

At the time, Walker was playing some of the best golf of his life. He had won his first major, the 2016 PGA Championship, and spent most of the year ranked inside the top 30 after peaking at No. 10 in 2015.

“Every other week I just felt like I had the worst flu symptoms you could have, throughout your entire body,” Walker said. “I felt horrible, I had no energy. I just felt so bad, these like weekly cycles. I would just get hit with it, and then it would go away.”

Acting on a recommendation from his sports psychologist, Walker eventually had blood work done and tested positive for Lyme disease. The effects were devastating. Walker’s depleted energy level made it difficult for him to practice, and he says he started struggling with basic things that had never been an issue before.

Luckily, Walker started an aggressive treatment plan and says he’s in a much better place today. It appears things are looking up when it comes to Walker’s recent results, too. After bottoming out at No. 551 in the world ranking, Walker is up to No. 324, and snagged his first top-25 finish since the Memorial by placing T24 at the Shriners Children’s Open in October.

For more from Walker, including what it’s like to be in the zone, and why the PGA Tour needs an offseason, check out the full interview below.


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.