Leona Maguire is the world No 2 and arguably the toughest female amateur on the planet.
But as much as she wanted to shrug off a suspected bout of vertigo and soldier on for the team in the NCAAs earlier this week, where Duke University would eventually exit in the semi-finals, it was clearly asking far too much for the Cavan talent.
“(Brooks) told me if he saw me face down somewhere that he’d know it had gotten worse,” a smiling Leona told GolfWeek of her chat with coach Dan Brooks.
She wasn’t smiling at all after her one up defeat to Stanford’s Casey Daniels in the semifinals, where Duke fell 3-2. Losing isn't fun but even standing up with vertigo, never mind playing golf, is torture.
According to Golfweek, "It started on the second day of stroke play. Leona Maguire felt unsteady on the driving range when she bent down to tee up the ball. It carried on to the putting green, and by the time she got to the first tee, Maguire hit the ball and had no idea where it had gone.”
No matter how important a player might be to a team, is it really worth it?
Anyone who watched Jason Day at Chambers Bay last year can empathise with Leona Maguire and how she must have felt.
"The symptoms got worse in the final round of stroke play, when Maguire nearly fell over on the sixth hole at Eugene Country Club. Duke assistant coach Jon Whithaus walked alongside her to help repair ball marks and pluck blades of grass to check the wind. Anything to minimize the amount of time she had to spend bent over.
Maguire saw the doctor a second time on Monday evening after posting a 6-over 78 and received nausea medication, which has helped. She called her mother back in Ireland and found out that an uncle and some cousins have suffered from vertigo, but no one in the immediate family.
“It’s a bit of a bizarre situation,” said Maguire. “The doc said it might have been caused by the flights.”
Maguire said on Monday that she couldn’t have played 36 holes, but told Duke coach Dan Brooks on Tuesday that she’s well enough to compete in this afternoon’s semifinal match against Stanford’s Casey Danielson….
Brooks has suffered from extreme dizziness in the past and can appreciate Maguire’s struggles. Maguire fell 4 and 2 against Karen Chung in her quarterfinal match and said the day got a lot better when it seemed like the ball stopped moving after the first five holes.
“I’m very impressed with her,” said Brooks. “She’s tough and ready to go for the next one.
Duke pulled off an upset in the morning contest against Southern Cal. It would be a tall order to win twice in one day without a victory from their Irish superstar.
She lost, of course, which was no surprise.
Was it worth it?
The Duke University report of the qualifying rounds called it “some kind of illness” but report of the semi-final defeat made no mention whatsoever of dizziness or suspected vertigo:
“Her standards are really high and she doesn’t feel like she played as well as she could have,” commented Brooks on Maguire. “I didn’t see the very first part of her match and I think that’s where she had the most trouble. The parts that I saw, the latter part, I thought Casey Danielson played really good golf and so did Leona. They were both battling and it was a really great battle.”
With the Curtis Cup set to start at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in just over fortnight, it's time for rest and recovery for the Irish star, who returns home this weekend to start a busy summer that's likely to feature a trip to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games.