The Paper of Record (full disclosure: I gladly subscribe) has put the saga of Charlie Beljan on A1 (below the fold) when there are just a few more things taking place in the world (I'd nominate this doozy for the front page, above the fold!)
Most amazing is the language used by authors Crouse and Pennington to describe Beljan's Friday panic attack: "One of the more frightening — and remarkable — rounds of golf ever caught on video," and, "Beljan fought bone-crushing fatigue and worry about his health to hang on for his first PGA Tour victory, a triumph over the most mental of games."
I'm guessing there are some Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan vets out there who can tell us about panic attacks induced by genuinely "frightening" horrors and real "bone crushing fatigue" from staying up for 30 hours straight dealing with the "most mental of games," better known as war.
Anyway, after spelling out the Beljan saga, the story turns to the issue of panic attacks. Ever the optimist, I thought maybe the A1 placement meant we would be exploring one of the following on A1 (well, on a Saturday following a non-news dump Friday):
- Anxiety medications in sports and their use, overuse, lack of use, etc...
- PGA Tour drug rules in a post-Lance Armstrong world and whether Beljan is unfairly deprived of necessary medication because of such rules
- Or, as one NY Times commenter noted, the rising cost of health care as evidenced by the sheer number of tests, visits and next round of tests that Beljan will be undergoing.
Instead, we get Jim McLean!
There is no relief for the struggling golfer on the course. Players cannot be removed from competition in the middle of a bad round or take a timeout to regain their composure. There are no coaches to offer comfort or teammates to help erase their mistakes.
“The only comparable thing might be a heavyweight championship fight,” said Jim McLean, an instructor to various touring pros, including Bradley and the L.P.G.A. star Cristie Kerr. “The personal pressure is enormous.”
Yes, the pressure is enormous. In a first world way! How about some perspective!
The most thought provoking of many fine comments on the NY Times site came from a self-described physician named Steve:
As a physician I must admit I find the need for an overnight hospital stay mystifying. As he had already had a previous serious panic attack in August and presumably had an extensive work-up to rule out other health issues at that time, why did the physicians who saw him now see a reason for repeating it. And, also, why does he need another work-up at the Mayo Clinic. If Mr. Beljan felt the doctors who saw him at the unnamed hospitals in August and now were incompetent, why not name the hospitals so your readers are aware of which ones he held in low esteem.
If anyone wants to know why health care costs so much in the U.S., here's one of the major reasons: doctors doing unnecessary tests simply because they'll get paid for them, not because there is any medical indication.
By the way, I didn't notice any mention about whether he sought treatment after the initial panic attack was diagnosed. If he didn't, why not?
It's also interesting that although Dr. Lieberman mentions a number of medications for panic disorder, Mr. Beljan is going to see a psychologist who can't prescribe any of them.
Hey but there's great news in all of this. The new PGA Tour calendar year schedule means players will never have to go to Disney again to fight for the top 125 status. Next year they'll be letting algorithm writers handle the heavy load.