Jason Day's three-month layoff from golf due to a back injury has left many questions about his future in the game, despite the fact he remains the No. 1 ranked male player in the world.
At least some of those questions are about to be answered in Hawaii starting later this week.
Day, the 29-year-old Australian who withdrew from his last two tournaments in America last September then skipped the Emirates Australian Open and the World Cup of Golf to recover, is resuming tournament play at the United States PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.
He will play in a 32-man field consisting only of tournament winners from last season, including the Australians Aaron Baddeley, Rod Pampling and Greg Chalmers.
Several big names have declined their invitation including Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy, but world No. 3 Dustin Johnson, No. 5 Jordan Spieth, No. 6 Hideki Matsuyama and the likes of No. 6 Patrick Reed and No. 10 Bubba Watson are playing at the Kapalua Resort on Maui.
Day has a liking for the Plantation course at Kapalua, having tied the course record in a final-round 62 last year that left him just short of another victory.
But all eyes will be on the Australia's body language in the wake of the damaged ligament in the back area that left him withdrawing from the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship late in the 2016 season, and forced him to cancel his plans to return to Royal Sydney for the Emirates Australian Open.
Day has been dogged by illness and injury in recent years and a back injury at his tender age is clearly a concern, especially — as some observers have noted — for someone with such a violent golf swing and a habit of thrashing thousands of practice balls.
The Queenslander this week announced that he would be wearing Nike apparel (hat, ball and shoes) from this tournament, having secured a deal with the equipment giant recently. Last year Day announced he was extending his deal with TaylorMade to use that company's golf clubs.