Date: June 23, 2016
Author: Martin Blake

Day ‘respects’ McIlroy Olympic withdrawal

Jason Day says Rory McIlroy's decision to decline an Olympic Games spot is "understandable'', but told media today he has not made a final decision on his own position at Rio de Janeiro.

Day, the world No. 1, told a PGA Championship media day in the United States today that he sympathised with McIlroy's position, after the Northern Irishman announced this week he would not play at the Olympics because of fears of the Zika virus.

"He and Erica (girlfriend Erica Stoll) are looking at getting married soon and obviously looking to start a family,'' said Day. "I'm past that but also want to have some more babies, so I respect his decision."

The Queenslander is slotted to take the first Australian spot in Rio, with the second place up in the air until the July 11 cut-off. Adam Scott and Marc Leishman's withdrawal leaves another Queenslander, Scott Hend, with the position at the moment, with Victorian Marcus Fraser a strong chance as well.

As for Day, he has not made his position clear. "Family for me is priority number one so I've got to make sure that they're happy and then from there I'll make a decision,'' he said. "It's a life decision that you have to make just in case there's a small percentage that it will happen, but it's a decision that some people aren't willing to take.''

The Australian was speaking to media at Baltusrol, host club for this year's PGA Championship, where he will defend, and he made some interesting comments about his long-term future, indicating that he could stop playing at 40.

"When I get to 40, I'm going to re-evaluate everything and then go from there," Day said. "Because when I get to 40, I would like to see where I'm at in my career because I might want to go, 'You know what, I'm done. I'm just happy with everything,' and I'm going to go off my merry way and I'll probably never pick up a golf club ever again.

"But it also depends on if (son) Dash is playing, if (daughter) Lucy is playing, if I'm still competitive and my body's great, because I'm just trying to extend," he added. "What I'm doing with my body and with my golf game, I'm trying to extend the longevity of my career."

Day is 28 and has held the No. 1 ranking for 17 weeks, having won his first major last year.

"It's over when you don't want to improve anymore. It's over when you're done improving yourself on and off the golf course," Day said. "That's probably the biggest thing, because winning is taken care of by the process that you put into your game. The small victories that you have along the way, with regards to practicing that extra hour when you didn't really want to, or being out there practicing when you didn't want to practice that day. Going to the gym when you felt like, 'You know what, I'll just take a day off and go tomorrow.'

"They're the small victories you have, and that's the process that goes into – they're the pieces of the puzzle that you slowly etch together to make the big masterpiece, which is the winning formula."