Date: September 24, 2016
Author: Bernie McGuire, Atlanta

Back injury forces Day out

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Adam Scott is cautiously optimistic six weeks rest will enable fellow Australian Jason Day to play his homeland schedule after the world No.1 was forced to withdraw from the US PGA Tour Championship this morning.

Scott, who completed a flat one-over-par round of 71 to fall into a tie for 11th in the playoff finale, remained hopeful Day would be fit in time to join him at the Emirates Australian Open in Sydney from November 17-20, then defend the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne that the pair won in 2013.

Day’s injury-plagued PGA Tour season ended on a disappointing note after just seven full holes on day two at East Lake in Atlanta.

It came courtesy of the same lower back complaint that forced Day off the Crooked Stick course after eight holes on the final day of the recent BMW Championship.

Day had been even par in suburban Atlanta before hitting his drive on the eighth into the water. He took a drop and had yet to find the green with his fourth shot.

The Queenslander strode on to the green to inform playing partner Si Woo Kim he couldn’t continue before riding a golf cart to the parking lot and being shuttled away.

The disappointed Day did not stop to speak, though his management team later issued a statement.

"Jason has a strained ligament in his lower right back with muscle spasm,” said manager, Bub Martin.

“He withdrew as a precautionary measure. Jason should be fine with some rest after a long break in the off-season.”

Day acknowledged he wasn’t 100 per cent after shooting his first-round 67. He said there were several times when he felt a sharp pain while hitting his driver.

“When I get to the top of the swing, as soon as my hips start to unfold and then there’s that little bit of separation, it just crunches down,” Day said after round one.

“It just hurts.”

Scott was feeling a different pain after his 71 left him seven shots behind leader and world No.2 Dustin Johnson, who now has a stranglehold on the FedEx Cup and player of the year honours.

And while full of sympathy for Day, Scott said a long rest for Day could prove beneficial before he returns home in mid-November.

“It’s not what you want to be happening in your career and it’s clear that there is something going in Jason’s back and that’s why he’s treating it with caution,” Scott said.

“The thing is that a back issue can be serious and it’s not good for him or for any golfer if you have back problems.

“Hopefully, Jason gets on top of it quick.

“The good thing is that he’s got some time off now from the tour so that should go a long way to helping cure whatever maybe wrong with his back.

“But it also just shows that if you play a punishing schedule and if you are carrying any sort of injury through the season, it’s very difficult.

“Jason’s had a great year but it must be very serious but as I said, he’s now got a good rest period ahead of him with five or six weeks off so hopefully he will be OK for the tournaments later in the year.

“Though in saying that, it’s his judgement and he’s the only one who knows how his back feels as it can’t be that great.”