Jason Day’s first start on the PGA Tour since the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am only lasted six holes before he was forced to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a back issue.
While the initial questions about Day’s health dealt with his immediate future, comments made to GolfChannel.com’s Will Gray had many wondering why Day even attempted to tee it up this week.
Spending much of last week practicing at TPC Sawgrass for the upcoming run of big-time events on the schedule, Day had been taking anti-inflammatory meds to deal with soreness in his back, but the pain became much worse over the weekend.
“I woke up Sunday and I couldn’t really walk,” Day said. “Couldn’t sit in a car, it was really difficult. So I ended up coming down here and seeing a physio and trying to do as much work as I possibly could to get ready for this week. It just wasn’t going to work out.”
He went on to say that an MRI showed an annular tear in the disc between his L4 and L5 vertebrae along with additional “facet problems.”
Got a lot of feedback this morning from DFS and gamblers on why Day injury info wasn’t known publicly early in the week. So I asked around. Column from Bay Hill on the potential for more formal injury lists on Tour, and the problems that might create: https://t.co/7fqomEatl4 pic.twitter.com/g0hWx9Q1oe
— Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) March 7, 2019
The injury and subsequent withdrawal came to a surprise to many fans and gamblers, whose daily fantasy sports (DFS) lineups were negatively impacted by the loss. With the looming influence gambling is having on the world of sports in general and golf in particular, many were upset that the injury had not been disclosed.
Gray, on the ground at Bay Hill, took the question of injury reports and disclosing injuries to some players on hand. While a few saw the fans’ side of things, Player Advisory Council co-chairman Kevin Kisner was not one of them.
“It’s nobody’s business,” Kisner said. “I mean, are we out here to gamble, or are we out here to play golf? I don’t really give a s*** about the DFS guys. You should have picked someone else (to ask about this). If he had shot 65 and he had a hurt back, those guys wouldn’t have said anything.”
Two players who saw the fans’ side of things were Jimmy Walker and Brendan Steele who both referenced head-to-head in which a gambler picks between two players as to who they think will shoot a lower score. If one player withdraws, that counts as a loss.
“I’m not saying that anyone did anything malicious, but yeah, it’s a bigger deal,” Walker said. “There might have been a head-to-head with Jason today, and if a few people know that he’s probably not feeling good, people need to know that. It’s a big deal. There’s a lot of money out there.”
“You can certainly do well if you knew that stuff and other guys didn’t, that’s for sure,” Steele said. “Because with head-to-head matchups, if you know that a guy’s going to tee off and not finish, that’s quite good information to have.”
The question then becomes where do you draw the line on what would make a PGA Tour “injury report”? If it comes down to the legality of disclosing injuries, Brandt Snedeker said most guys will always be on it with some kind of issue, and then gamblers are left in the same position of uncertainty.
“If you’re going to start doing that, then you can probably list most of the guys out here,” Snedeker said. “Most everyone’s got some kind of injury that can flare up at any time. So I don’t see how you can honestly do that.”