Jason Day withdraws from Match Play due to mother's illness
March 22, 2017
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
- Jason Day has withdrawn from this week's WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play due to his mother's impending surgery. (Keyur Khamar/PGATOUR.COM)
AUSTIN, Texas -- Jason Day has taken an indefinite leave from golf after emotionally revealing his mother, Adenil “Dening” Day, has been diagnosed with potentially terminal lung cancer.
Day walked off the course after six holes of his opening match at the World Golf Championships – Dell Technologies Match Play after succumbing to the emotion and wanting to be by his mother’s side for surgery scheduled on Friday.
Dening was diagnosed earlier this year in Australia and given 12 months to live, but Day flew his mother to the USA a week ago to get more tests with doctors in Columbus, Ohio. They have cautiously given more hope, and she is scheduled for surgery at the James Cancer Centre at Ohio State University.
“The diagnosis is much better being over here,” Day revealed through tears. “She's going in for surgery this Friday, and it's really hard to even comprehend being on the golf course right now because of what she's gone through. I'm glad I brought her over here. And it's been really hard to play golf lately.”
Day is no stranger to the ravages of the disease, losing his father Alvyn to stomach cancer when he was just 12 years old. Dening has a 3-4 cm mass on her lungs.
“It's been very, very emotional, as you can tell. I've already gone through it once with my dad. And I know how it feels. And it's hard enough to see another one go through it, as well,” the 10-time PGA TOUR winner continued.
“So as of now I'm going to try to be back there with my mom for surgery and make sure everything goes right with her.”
As defending champion in Austin, Day had attempted to front-up and continue playing golf – as was his mother’s want – but eventually decided to continue his long-held motto of "family first."
“Emotionally it's been wearing on me for a while. And I know my mom says not to let it get to me, but it really has,” he said.
“So I just need some time away with her to make sure that everything goes well, because this has been very, very tough for me.
“So I'm going to do my best and try and be there the best I can for her, because she is the reason that I'm playing golf today.
“Family is first and it's just -- it's just a hard time.
“I'm hoping for a speedy recovery for her, and we can get this behind us and she can live a long, long life.”
With the Masters just two weeks away, it is not known whether Day will make it to Augusta National. He was due to arrive there on Saturday, April 1, but is now non-committal.
Day has long talked of his desire to win a green jacket and had hoped for his mother to share in such a moment. He was second on debut in 2011 and held a two-shot lead on the 16th tee Sunday in 2013 before back-to-back bogeys saw him finish third.
“Whatever happens, happens. Whether he’s playing that … I know it is something he wants to do,” manager Bud Martin said.
“But anyone that has a mother, I think you know that she comes first. Being by her side in Ohio when she has the surgery is something that I think just overwhelmed him. He thought that was where he needed to be.
“Jason is a gutsy guy. You don’t accomplish what he’s accomplished on the golf course without having resilience.”
Day’s childhood was rough. His father was an abusive alcoholic, and the family were never blessed with wealth. His parents worked long hours at a meat processing plant just to maintain the essentials. Dening was as hard a worker as they come, sacrificing everything for her children.
After losing his father, Day went off the rails, drinking alcohol to excess and getting in street fights. Fearing for her pre-teen son’s life, Dening borrowed money to have Day shipped off to a boarding school known for its golf academy.
It was there he met his now-caddie and coach Col Swatton, the man credited with turning a raw talent into the best golfer in the world.
“Without my mom’s sacrifice, there is no doubt I would not have made it,” Day said after his breakthrough major winning performance at the 2015 PGA Championship.
“Her and my sisters did so much for me so I could have the chance to succeed and I will forever be grateful.
“There is no telling where I would have ended up. Maybe jail. Maybe dead. But she made sure that wasn’t my path.”
Jason Day cites family illness for WD at Dell Match Play
To clear up any dispute. Absolutely no hard feelings to Jason Day. My thoughts and prayers to him and his family at this time. #cancersucks— Tony Finau Golf (@tonyfinaugolf) March 22, 2017
Tough to watch @JDayGolf in his press conference. Thoughts are with his mum, him and his family as she fights the battle.— Darren Clarke (@DarrenClarke60) March 22, 2017
Hard to hear @JDayGolf statement. He epitomizes class. Hope he and his family are able to get through this so we can see him tear it up soon— Ryan Ruffels (@RRuffels) March 22, 2017
Tough stuff out of Austin. Jason Day is one of the greatest guys on tour. Godspeed and prayers bud.— John Peterson (@JohnPetersonPGA) March 22, 2017
My thoughts are with you and your family @JDayGolf. Stay strong mate.— Grayson Murray (@GraysonMurray) March 22, 2017
@JDayGolf— Trevor Immelman (@TrevorImmelman) March 22, 2017
Hang tough brother, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family....🙏🏼