Day was one of the favourites for last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, but withdrew after just six holes of the opening round at Bay Hill with a back injury which subsequently required four cortisone injections.
That was met with anger on social media from people who had bet on Day, either via traditional methods or in daily fantasy sports (DFS), anger which increased after the Australian was pictured with his family at an Orlando theme park the following day.
Injury news is common in team sports but is not usually disclosed publicly in golf unless a player is asked a direct question and Kevin Kisner, who is co-chairman of the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council, gave the idea short shrift.
“It’s nobody’s business,” Kisner told Golf Channel. “I mean, are we out here to gamble, or are we out here to play golf?”
Day admitted he found the theme park photo “creepy” and defended his injury record in his pre-tournament press conference ahead of the Players Championship, an event he won in 2016 and was fifth last year.
“Heaven forbid I enjoy a day with my family,” said Day. “I was there half a day walking around. The doctor wanted me to keep active and not lay around the next day.
“I didn’t get to ride any rides. I was just walking around, unfortunately. But yeah, it was nice to be able to spend some time with the family. When I have an injury, I get sad and depressed. I mean that’s the biggest thing.
“I’m not going to be sitting in my bus depressed, and especially when the doctors tell me to go and walk, so I’m going to go and make sure that I hang out with my family because I do have a life other than golf.
“I’ve withdrawn nine times out of 230 something events. I mean, that’s pretty low percentage. I heard some article about sports betting and some nonsense about reports with regards to injuries.
“I’m like, are we going to get into psych reports now, too, if you have a fight with your missus at home? These things, like you’re going down kind of a really rocky road when it comes to that stuff.
“But I just don’t want to pay attention to it. I just try and put my work in, try and win as many tournaments as I can and then let some other young buck take the heat.”