Pulitzer Committee Alert: NY Times Follows Up On Beljan Front Pager With Harrowing Stories Of Severe Acid Reflux

Some poor lad named Nate Schweber got the call from a golf savvy NY Times editor: justify our superfluous A1 story on Charlie Beljan's "panic attack" by finding more golfers suffering from an untold epidemic that has been quietly dooming the game.

So Schweber headed to Van Cortlandt Park where, of course, no one had read the story in spite of its A1 placement.

Mateo’s tale of an anxiety attack on the golf course was one of several that were heard during a random stop at the course in Van Cortlandt Park. None of the golfers interviewed had read about the PGA Tour player Charlie Beljan, who had had a panic attack last week, only to forge ahead to his first career victory.

But the golfers in the Bronx did not need much prompting. Told the details of Beljan’s harrowing experience, they shook their heads in recognition.

What the NY Times actually uncovered were stories of folks needing my drug of choice, Prilosec.

William Larkin, 44, the general manager of the golf course in Van Cortlandt Park, said he had an anxiety attack trying to qualify for a golf tournament in Westchester County about 15 years ago and had to be taken to a hospital.

“I was getting winded going up small hills, my mouth was dry, my left arm got stiff,” he said. “I started thinking I was having a heart attack, which made everything worse.”

He said he spent two days in the hospital having tests. His symptoms had been found to be psychosomatic except for one. His worry had caused his stomach to produce higher-than-normal quantities of acids, which rose up and caused his left arm to stiffen.

“I’ll never forget that day,” he said.