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Jason Day

Struggling Day hints at early retirement

A year ago Jason Day was part of the world’s top 10. Now the 32-year-old is wondering if he only has three years left in the game

 

Not so very long ago we had a very clear top three in the world and there was plenty of talk about the next Big Three which would dominate the game for years to come. That was at the back end of 2015 with Jason Day having just won his first major at the 2015 PGA Championship, getting in the way of Jordan Spieth who came within a few shots of the Grand Slam, and we also threw in Rory McIlroy as he had dominated the 2014 major season before his ankle ligament injury playing football got in his own way the following year.

Fast forward to 2019 and we have McIlroy without a major win since the 2014 double, Spieth did what he did at Birkdale but is now outside the world’s top 50, and Day has hinted this week at early retirement. The Australian, who has struggled with his back, has just turned 32 and is just inside the 50.

“I’ve talked to my wife about this a lot,” Day said midway through the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. “I’m like, ‘I think I’m nearly done here’, just because of how much pain I was in.

“And then on top of it how stressful it is to play competitive golf week-in and week-out and try and live up to the expectations not only with yourself, but with what everyone else thinks that you should be doing.”

At the Masters last year he aggravated his back after bending down to give his daughter a kiss just before teeing off.

“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 feel like I’m 18 again.”

The last time Day hit the headlines was when he pulled out of the Presidents Cup in December and he’s now managing his back in a variety of methods.

“I’m up early and it usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get myself ready. And after, I’m doing stuff after, so it’s kind of it’s more of a lifestyle now.”

The other also involves going to the gym and… blowing up balloons.

“You feel self-conscious because you’re in the gym blowing up balloons and no one else is blowing up balloons,” he explained. “So, long story short, I’m not a doctor, but this is kind of how we worked it out with my trainer Kevin Duffy. It’s called PRI.

“If I stood with my shirt off, my rib cage always faces right. So I’m trying, through balloons, blowing into them, I could do it without it, and I’m trying to hold a certain position and get my rib cage back into position. But it actually pressurises everything for you, because if you don’t hold that breath and exhale out, it honestly feels like you’re suffocating. That’s the feeling that I’m trying to get.”

The signs so far are promising. At Pebble Beach he wouldn’t normally play any practice rounds he but he managed 36 holes going into the tournament.

“All last year I would sit there and think I don’t know how much I can push myself through this,” he said. “I’m like, OK, if I can push it to 35 then that would be good.

“But those are the things that go along in your head and you think, maybe my time is just coming around the corner and I might have to rack the clubs. And that’s a really terrible way of seeing it because I am only 32.”

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Mark Townsend

Been watching and playing golf since the early 80s and generally still stuck in this period. Huge fan of all things Robert Rock, less so white belts. Handicap of 8, fragile mind and short game

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