Jason Day has disc issues in his back. Eventually, the Aussie will likely need surgery to correct his problems as best possible.
In the meantime, the 2015 PGA champion suffers pain, and flare-ups are routine. One such flare-up came on Thursday morning of the 2019 Masters when he injured his back bending over to kiss his 3-year-old daughter, Lucy, at the putting green before his tee time. The pain was so bad Day had to receive physical treatment on the second and fourth holes of the tournament. However, Day played through the discomfort and the pain, and now he has a share of the halfway through the week at Augusta National.
For Day, dealing with the realities of his condition means being able to adapt to how his body is doing on any given day.
“Sometimes I wake up and I feel like I'm 50, sometimes I wake up and I feel like I’m 70, and sometimes I wake up and feel like I'm 18 again,” Day said Friday, mentioning some days it can take him 10 minutes just to get out of bed in the morning. “It just comes and goes, and that's just how it is.”
One of the things Day has been doing to keep himself healthy and playing golf is, you guessed, blowing up balloons. Wait, what?
"I have to get my ribcage back in position (each morning) by blowing into a balloon. I think blowing into a balloon is pretty funny," Day said.
He's honest to fault, and he's got a sense of humor about it all. The pilots taking him to Augusta from Florida last week found it funny, too, as Day laid there on the floor exhaling carbon dioxide into a random balloon.
“It sounds like you’ve let one go, right?” Day said. “Every 30 seconds, I would be letting the balloons out, and these guys are looking at me very strange. But they understood what’s going on.”
Day would much rather do something that looks silly in public than take a big risk and go under the knife. He's trying to prolong surgery as long as possible.
"I want to stay away from that as much as possible,” he said. “Once you cut yourself, you can’t undo what you’ve done in there. I want to stay away from that.”
Day's wife, Ellie, has given her man the pep talk he needs to keep going. After all, Day says, she's tougher than he is; in his explanation, it's because she gave birth to three children.
“It’s the Masters,” Day recalls Elie saying. “You need to suck it up.”
As far as Day is concerned, the pep talk helped: “Sometimes having a good, supporting wife and knowing what she has to say in certain situations to get me ready is crucial, and it obviously helped today."
If he wins the Masters on Sunday, he will have plenty of reason to blow up some green and yellow balloons -- not only in honor of Augusta National but the competitive colors of his native Australia.