March 28 2012
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy columnist
The Fantasy Mailbag was surprisingly light this week. So, we have an opportunity to take a moment to focus on a guy that's currently flying under the radar, not that it's unfamiliar territory for the Aussie.
Hi Rob. I am in first place in my league (salary cap; points based on money won). Do you have any information regarding Jason Day? His schedule on the PGA TOUR has been down from previous years. Is he battling an injury? -- Todd
Indeed, the 24-year-old started his U.S.-based play later this year than during any of his previous four since his rookie season of 2008. But it's not due to an injury.
Day started 2012 with two tournaments on the Desert Swing on the European Tour. After missing the cut in Abu Dhabi, he shared runner-up honors at the Qatar Masters. It's the first time he's ever played that circuit in the month of January.
Two weeks later, he placed T62 at the Northern Trust Open, his first of four starts in a five-week stretch on the PGA TOUR. He'll have had two weeks to recharge before returning at next week's Masters, where he shared second place in his debut last year.
Since his forgettable finish at Riviera in February, Day's 1-1 record at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and pair of T20s in stroke-play starts have done little to ease the concern of gamers with higher expectations like Todd, but there is no reason to panic.
Looking back at his schedule over the years, yes, he had sinus surgery in the last quarter of 2010, but he took the last three months of 2009 off, too, choosing to get married, honeymoon and rest. He played out of the conditional status category on the PGA TOUR in 2009. That limited him to 18 starts, but he had no trouble in securing fully exempt status for 2010. And he hasn't looked back.
That was a valuable turning point for gamers. However, upstarts like Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Michael Sim were commanding our attention while Day was on his sabbatical. Moreover, he's reduced his playing time to 24 and 21 starts the last two years, respectively. We knew this entering 2012, and he isn't deviating.
Day's wife Ellie is due to give birth to the couple's first child in July. Jason has already confirmed that golf will not prevent him from being with Ellie for the birth, no matter when it is.
The moral of the story is that you can plan accordingly for his potential DNP at the British Open; otherwise, it's full steam ahead as usual for one of the most efficient touring pros in the world.