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Despite dizziness, Jason Bohn steadying himself at Memorial

DUBLIN, Ohio -- Before Thursday's opening round of the Memorial Tournament, Jason Bohn suffered another one of his dizzy spells while warming up on the practice range. Usually these last about five to seven minutes. Maybe 10, tops. This one continued for 20 minutes, just before he was scheduled to tee off.

Once he started playing, they returned. He felt dizzy while walking down the fairways. Felt dizzy while standing over tee shots and lining up putts.

"I'm dizzy quite a bit," he divulged. "I can be dizzy sitting down; I can be dizzy standing up. There's no real rhyme or reason for it."

Bohn, who suffered a heart attack three months ago, said at one point he was on as many as six different medications. He's now down to only two, but says he believes they are causing the frequent dizzy spells.

It was just after he'd made the cut at the Honda Classic in late February. Experiencing a shortness of breath, Bohn was checked out by doctors who discovered that he had a 99 percent blockage in his left anterior descending artery, often referred to as the widowmaker. A stent was inserted in the artery, he recuperated and, seven weeks later, returned to competition.

The good news is that doctors have confirmed that Bohn is healthy. His heart is, they've told him, "as strong as a bull."

The other good news -- and shockingly impressive news -- is that the dizzy spells haven't impacted his game too much. Despite suffering throughout the opening round, he still posted a 5-under 67 that propelled him onto the leaderboard, just 3 strokes behind early leader Dustin Johnson.

"I've kind of become a little bit accustomed to it," he said. "I don't like it, by any means. But I don't think it really throws off my balance. You just deal with it. I'm really grateful to be here and I'm grateful to be where I am. I want to try and get the balance right, but I also want to compete."

One day before the opening round, Bohn spent nearly four hours of his morning at the nearby Cleveland Clinic, undergoing tests with their sports cardiology physicians. They changed some of the dosages in his medications, leaving him optimistic that the dizzy spells will soon subside.

The entire process, though, is really just trial and error.

"The hard part is, when you're out here, the adrenaline, the anxiety -- it's completely different from when you're home, just resting," he said. "I'm hoping this isn't the way I'm going to have to play for the rest of my life."

There are no timeouts in golf. Players can't raise their hand for a substitution from the bench or rely on teammates to take control of the action.

And so with Bohn's dizzy spells lasting minutes at a time, he's often forced to hit shots while not feeling nearly as comfortable as he'd like over the ball.

"Putting is probably the most difficult thing," he said. "That's the thing that I probably did the best today. Maybe I need to be more dizzy when I'm putting. I felt really comfortable with the putter, even though my body didn't feel comfortable."

Much to his credit, Bohn hasn't bemoaned his situation. He hasn't used the dizzy spells as an excuse for not playing better.

When he walked off the course, his usual smile was still plastered across his face.

That's the sort of perspective he has gained in the three months since the widowmaker was found.

He's dizzy now, but he's healthy. He's uncomfortable, but he's still able to play golf -- and competitive golf, too.

"If I could get rid of it doing something, I'd do it," he said. "If that meant not playing, then I probably wouldn't play. But it doesn't matter."

Instead, he's playing -- dizzy spells and all. Some days are better than others, but he's grateful for all of them.

"I haven't felt like myself yet. I hope I do. And I think I will. I hope this isn't what I feel like. I really don't think it is."

Bohn then smiled that usual smile again.

"I'm extremely fortunate," he said, "that I'm even on the right side of the divot."