ORLANDO, Fla. – Few of Tiger Woods’ contemporaries have taken as much interest Woods’ play over the last few weeks as Jason Day.
Woods and Day have become close friends in recent years, and the Australian can also relate to Tiger’s struggles, having endured a collection of injuries in his career. So on Sunday as Woods was vying to win for the first time in over four years at the Valspar Championship, Day was very much an attentive bystander.
“Seeing the putt go in on 17, that’s Tiger-esque stuff. I mean back in the day when you’re watching, you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ he pulled that off sort of thing,” Day said. “I said after the practice round at Torrey Pines that he’s going to win this year. I don’t know when it was, but he almost did it at Valspar, which is pretty amazing.”
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Like Woods, who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April, Day has dealt with his share of back surgeries and has spent plenty of time with Woods talking about how debilitating they can be.
“A lot of athletes understand this, that when you’re injured it feels like your world is ending. You feel like sometimes you get to a point where you’re like, ‘Oh, I’ve got nothing else to give,’” Day said. “I’ve been injured a couple times and I felt like my career’s over and I got really depressed.”
Like most of Woods’ fans, Day was surprised at how quickly the 14-time major champion has gotten himself back into contention, particularly after trading text messages with him late last year.
“I remember texting him a couple months ago saying, ‘How’s it going?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m starting to feel no pain,’” Day said. “Now he’s the favorite [to win this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational]?”