Day puts back worries aside for FedEx Cup
Photo Source: EPA
By Ashton Hudson
ATLANTA, Georgia, Sep 21 AAP - World No.1 Jason Day is putting a positive spin on his injury-enforced rest going into the US PGA Tour's mega-rich season-finale.
"Maybe it's a blessing in disguise that I've been able to take a week off and recharge the batteries and get back into it this week," said Day on the eve of the 30-man Tour Championship in Atlanta.
" I'm excited about the next four days."
Day has arrived at East Lake Golf Club hopeful of his chances of victory despite the dodgy back which forced him to withdraw midway through the final round of the BMW Championship 10 days earlier.
Should he win, and claim a fourth victory of the season, Day will claim the season-long FedEx Cup and take home a staggering $US10million bonus, plus a $US1.53 million for the event itself.
Just 12 months ago, Day arrived in Atlanta the newly-minted world No.1 after claiming a fifth win of the season.
But then No.2 Jordan Spieth took the headlines and the cash with an impressive win, matching Day's five on the year to take out Player of the Year honours thanks to his two majors.
This time around current world No.2 Dustin Johnson looms as the spoiler.
With victory in the BMW Championship less than two weeks ago Johnson matched Day's season-high three wins but one was the US Open, putting the American in front.
Despite the need to get past an annulus ligament tear in his back, Day is confident he can stop history repeating.
The injury usually flares up in non-golf scenarios, leaving Day trusting the aggressive nature of his swing.
"It's not the first time that (the back) has happened. I mean, if it was the first time, then I'd be like, Oh, I'm really kind of worried about it," Day said
"I put the tee in the ground at the BMW Championship, and my back went out. Last time it went out, I changed a diaper.
"So it's nothing where I go and physically make a move at it during a swing and my back goes out. It literally is from the smallest things -- picking up a pillow, picking up something off the ground, or just moving the wrong way.
"I'm just trying to ease my way back into it, but the back isn't an issue right now."
Day has increased his exercise and stretching routine to ensure the correct back muscles are "activated", lessening the likelihood of a recurrence.
Day can finish as low as a tie for third in the Tour Championship and still have a mathematical chance of winning the FedExCup but that is not the way he is approaching the week.
."It's either winning or nothing else matters," Day said. "That's the mentality that I have to go into because, if I finish second, that's great and all, but it may not win me the trophy."
Day has now hit 30 total weeks as the world No.1, becoming the 10th longest reign in history but still 301 weeks behind his stated goal of bettering Greg Norman's 331 weeks.
It continues to be a learning process and Day can now feel Johnson breathing down his neck.
"It's tough to be at the top of a sport and trying to deal with new things and trying to compete and handle certain parts of your life and be able to put them in boxes." he said.
"I learn something every week that I'm there. It can be very stressful and very taxing on not only the physical side, but more so the mental side.
"Sometimes I'm sitting there after a week, and I just feel absolutely burnt.
"I think with time I'll slowly get better and better because I feel the game and my hard work has put me in this position.
"I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it's something that I have to get better at."