06/22/2015 01:45 pm ET Updated Jun 22, 2016

Golfer Jason Day's Episode of Vertigo at the U.S. Open Could've Been Triggered by Poor Sleep

This weekend, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth won golf’s U.S. Open. Spieth, who won the Masters tournament earlier in March, became the first male player since 1922 to win multiple majors before his twenty-second birthday, and is the youngest player to win the tournament since 1923. He ended with a total score of five under par, winning in dramatic fashion after fellow golfer Dustin Johnson failed to sink a crucial putt late in the match.

By all accounts, it was Jordan’s event. But many couldn’t stop talking about Australian golfer Jason Day. Day tied for ninth alongside Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry, ending the Open at even par, five shots behind Spieth. But his tournament played out in equally dramatic fashion.

On Friday, Day collapsed on the course at Chambers Bay after suffering a bout of vertigo on the ninth hole. Although noticeably struggling, he was able to work through the debilitating condition, which causes loss of balance, mild-to-extreme dizziness and nausea, to remain in the lead. Day sunk his final putt on the 18th hole to the sound of a standing ovation.

"I felt nauseous all day," Day told CBS Sports in regards to Friday's episode. "Last year, I (withdrew) after I had vertigo and this one was worse. I think the goal was just to go through today and see how it goes."

Day’s symptoms improved after his fall. As he continued playing, he made sure to look down at the ground sparingly in order to keep dizziness under control.

CBS Sports reported that Day was aware of his condition before play. During an interview the Tuesday before the tournament began, he told them he had undergone an array of exams, including several blood tests, a back and head MRI, and three sleep tests, but everything came back negative.

“I have no idea what that was other than I just may have been exhausted,” Day said, citing the anticipation of the tournament as a trigger of sleeplessness.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, from which Day was suffering, is often a symptom of inner ear trouble and “usually triggered by specific changes in the position of your head. This might occur when you tip your head up or down, when you lie down, or when you turn over or sit up in bed.”

As such, sleep position is incredibly important when dealing with Vertigo. To defend against morning flare-ups, the American Hearing Research Foundation recommends “using two or more pillows at night,” “avoiding sleeping on the ‘bad’ side, and “sitting on the edge of the bed for a minute” when you wake up in the morning.”

And while many factors could have caused Day’s flare up, fatigue and lack of sleep are among the main triggers. 

Day remained tied for the lead going into Sunday’s competition but fell to fifth after he struggled on a few early holes. We’re impressed he was able to powered through his episode and hope his condition remains under control. And, now that the U.S. Open, and the stress it likely brings with it, are finished, we also hope he can finally get a good night’s sleep.

-- Matt Berical
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