Jimmy Walker has enjoyed the defence of his PGA Championship title – but maybe not has much as he’d hoped.
The American, who clinched his maiden major title last summer, is the 36-hole leader of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational but has managed just two top tens since breaking through at Baltusrol and lies 105th in this season’s FedEx Cup.
A big reason behind his substantial dip in form is that Walker was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in April. The disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks, with symptoms including fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Walker’s wife, Erin, recently gave a glimpse into the medication her husband now has to take on daily basis (below) and, speaking after his second round at Akron, the 38-year-old explained how the disease has affected him.
“It hasn't been a lot of fun this year,” he said, at first addressing the state of his game. “I mean, I had a few okay finishes, a lot of 30th, high 20s, just stuff that's not moving me around.
“The disease is day-to-day. I mean, I felt pretty good all week physically and I woke up this morning and I've got this overall flu feeling in my body, so I take some Advil, it goes away. During the last break [rain delay], it came back, so I took some more. Now it's gone, and so it's just crap like that. You just never know when it's going to spike up.
“I'm feeling better but there's still a lot of stuff that’s lingering and hanging in there. Just I hit weird shots on the golf course sometimes and lose focus and concentration. I've really tried to step that up this week, really narrowing up the focus because it can slip away pretty fast.”
Walker, who is on seven-under-par, will play in the final round on Saturday alongside Belgian Thomas Pieters, who is two shots back. Rory McIlroy is lurking on four-under-par alongside Zach Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama, while Russell Knox and Jordan Spieth are among a group of six players on three-under-par.