Injured Day shoots 67 after wife tells him to ‘suck it up’
April 12, 2019
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Jason Day bounced back nicely on Friday after he suffered an injury on Thursday at Augusta. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Jason Day may have hurt his back while kissing his daughter, but that didn’t mean his wife was going to give him sympathy about an ill-timed injury.
“You need to suck it up,” Ellie Day told her husband Friday morning. A kick in the pants propelled him to the top of the leaderboard at Augusta National.
One day after he considered withdrawing, Day shot 67 and shared the Masters lead when he walked off 18. He sits at 7-under 137, as do Francesco Molinari and Brooks Koepka.
RELATED: Tee times | Leaderbord | Tiger one back entering weekend | Stars all over top of leaderboard | Roundtable: Who will win? | Zach's practice swing mishap | Molinari 2.0 surging | Spieth makes cut
Back pain is nothing new for Day. He’s struggled with it since he was 13 years old. But this time it reared its head at the worst possible time, after an affectionate gesture toward his only daughter, 3-year-old Lucy. The pain reared its head after he bent down to give Lucy a kiss as he headed to the first tee.
He received treatment on the second and fourth holes, but limped around Augusta National during his first-round 70. The pain was worst on practice swings, and while walking Augusta National’s hilly terrain. He was able to block it out after addressing the ball. The discomfort also had its benefits.
“It's almost a blessing in disguise,” he said. “It just brings down the expectation of going out there and trying too hard. … I'm hoping that I can take the same attitude -- even though I feel pretty healthy now -- into the next two days and play well.”
The pain has become part of daily life. Day said he blows into balloons each morning to put his ribs back in place.
“Sometimes I wake up and I feel like I'm 50. Sometimes I wake up and I feel like I'm 70. And sometimes I wake up and feel like I'm 18 again,” he said. “It just comes and goes, and that's just how it is.
“I'm just doing whatever I can to feel good. So, if blowing in balloons is what I need to do to feel good, then I will do it all day long.”
Day received additional treatment both Thursday evening and Friday morning. With his back feeling better, he shot the second-lowest score of his career at Augusta National. He birdied all four of the par-5s and added birdies at Friday’s hardest hole, No. 5, and the par-3 16th.
It was just three weeks ago that Day’s back problems forced him to withdraw six holes into the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. He needed an epidural before competing in the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, where he went 0-3.
On Thursday, he told his caddie that he would withdraw if the pain didn’t abate. He was able to continue, and now feels confident that he can continue his pursuit of the green jacket. He was runner-up here in 2011 and finished third two years later.
“I feel a lot more optimistic now today than I did yesterday,” Day said, “I'm hoping that, bar some outrageous thing that could possibly happen, I'm hoping that, I feel this good going into Saturday and Sunday.”