CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – For Jimmy Walker, dealing with Lyme disease is an ongoing battle and it will likely play a role in his performance at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
The U.S. Open will be Walker’s first start since the Players Championship after he bypassed four consecutive events to deal with the effects of the illness and the medication he is taking.
Walker found out on the Wednesday of Masters week that he had Lyme disease after initially being told that was not the cause of the symptoms he was having. He believes he picked up the illness while on a hunting trip in Texas last fall. He began feeling bad in November at the World Cup in Australia, where he teamed with Rickie Fowler.
“I get down there and I just start feeling awful. I mean, awful, awful and it continued all through the winter,” Walker said at the PGA Championship media day at Quail Hollow Club earlier this week.
“I just felt like I was getting about the flu about every other week, like a full-on flu, no energy. I just couldn’t figure out what was happening. And it’s not something you really like to talk about because you feel very – it’s not a great feeling and you don’t want to talk about how draggy you feel and how tired you are all the time.
“And I’ve got two little boys … at least one of them, he’s got tons of energy. I’ve been in just a funky mood because I get done with my day and I just want to go lay down and the boys want to play. I was just in a bad spot and finally I just said, ‘Something is really wrong. We need to get this figured out.’ ”
At the urging of his sports psychologist, Walker was tested for Lyme disease. A heavy dose of antibiotics made him sensitive to the sun, causing his hands to burn while playing the Players Championship. It has also limited his practice time.
Walker said he is not yet 100 percent physically but he intends to play at Erin Hills.
“I think I need a few weeks off, maybe a month off the medication and see how I’m doing,” Walker said. “I still every now and then have a little bit of the feeling, kind of the Lyme feeling. So we’ll just keep going and see how I do. I may have to take some more medication. I don’t know yet.”