Sunday, March 9, 2003

Duval diagnosed with vertigo

Ex-No. 1-ranked player's troubles continue to mount

The Associated Press

MIAMI - David Duval's worst round in seven years wasn't an accident. He was diagnosed Saturday with vertigo, which he said could last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

"It's just one thing after another," Duval said.

Duval, the only player other than Tiger Woods to be No. 1 in the world over the last five years, said the room was spinning and his equilibrium was out of kilter when he woke up Friday before his second round in the Ford Championship at Doral.

He finished with four straight bogeys for an 80, his worst score since he had an 83 at Doral in 1996 while battling a shoulder injury. "I felt terrible," he said. "I was wobbly, lightheaded. It was a weird feeling."

Duval was diagnosed with positional vertigo, an inner-ear problem that results in brief, violent bursts of dizziness with any turn of the head. It is often accompanied by queasiness that can last hours.

Duval stayed at the resort overnight because he couldn't drive his car to the airport. He went to the doctor Saturday morning and is scheduled for a hearing test before he returns home to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

His golf future is uncertain, although he does not expect to miss The Players Championship at the end of the month or the Masters.

"I just have to let it run its course," Duval said. "The next four or five days, I can't drive a car, but I can hit balls and things like that."

It's only the latest setback for Duval, in the worst slump of his nine years on the PGA Tour.

Back problems kept him out for 10 weeks in 2000 and caused his swing to slowly change as he tried to compensate for the pain.

He still managed to win the British Open the following year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, but he hasn't won since the Dunlop Phoenix at the end of the '01 season.

Duval also had an MRI exam last year after injuring his shoulder while snowboarding.

"My golf will be better, and I'll play better," Duval said. "I'm in a bad rut, but it will all change. I'm still playing golf for a living, so things aren't so bad. I'm not making much of a living at it, at least on the course."

Duval has missed the cut in four out of five stroke-play tournaments this year. He also was knocked out of the first round last week at the Match Play Championship.

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