HILTON HEAD, S.C. -- Shaun Micheel's troubles with his golf game sound like the lyrics of a Pink Floyd song.
"I move around inside myself," said the 2003 PGA champion in trying to explain his struggles. "I know that sounds kind of weird, but it's the best way to describe what's happening to me."
Micheel, 42, suffers from an inner ear disorder called indiolymphatic hydrops, a form of miniere's disease in which he has trouble with the pressure in his ears. For the last three years he's had headaches, dizziness on and off, and a constant ringing in his ears. In hope of correcting the problem, Micheel had tubes put in his ears Monday by a physician in San Antonio after finishing T-59 at the Valero Texas Open. He also is taking Topomax, an anti-seizure medication. He didn't yet notice any improvement at the Heritage, where he missed the cut after shooting 77-74-151.
Last year, his first since 2007 finishing inside the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list, Micheel twice had to have his ear drum pierced to drain fluid from it. But the problem not only came back but worsened this year, and he hasn't finished higher than T-29 at the Bob Hope Classic.
"It's pretty frustrating because I haven't felt really normal for more than three years," said Micheel, who before his ear troubles missed half of the 2008 season because of surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. "The dizziness is one thing because it's worse when I stand still. So putting, hitting a tee shot, that's a challenge. But the ringing in the ears, that's driving me nuts."
At Harbour Town GL, Micheel became so disgusted with his game that he had his score removed from the standard. "I'm just not hitting the ball very solid. It's frustrating and I probably need to be more patient. Hopefully, I'll see some progress next week in New Orleans," he said.