Jason Day is making a habit of going Tiger Woods one better.
Less than a week after going wire-to-wire for the win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, something his mentor and texting pal had never done in his eight victories at Bay Hill, Day said he required no second opinion from Dr. Woods about his sore back.
"I'm 28," the reigning PGA champ told reporters Thursday after surprising the golf world by playing his second game in Austin and whuppin Thongchai Jaidee, 5-and-3, at the WGC-Dell Match Play. "I don't know how long he's had back issues, but I've had back issues since I was 13. So I think I've got him there."
One’s infirmities -- until you’re at least in your 70s, maybe -- are not exactly the things about which most folks like to brag. But after stopping just short of blaming his misfiring glutes for what appeared a day earlier to be a serious back injury, Day trotted out some well-worn Tiger phrases to explain the intricacies of treatment for his bad back.
Despite what he described as an inflamed disk in his back that made his second round doubtful, Day drove the green with his first tee shot, eagled the hole and never let Jaidee into the match.
You know you're in a different stratosphere when you can wince and moan your way through a warmup, be doubtful up until the last second, then step on the first tee and pop at 381-YARD drive.
"It's a disk, when it gets inflamed the facet joints lock up, and then everything kind of goes into spasm and I can't really move," said Day, who enters Friday’s fracas at 2-0. "And it's really difficult to play golf. "I did a lot of therapy yesterday and made sure I did protocols every hour and felt pretty good."
Day eschewed an MRI, opting instead to see how his back held up during pre-round practice.
"I didn't really know if I was going to obviously play today," he said. "It was kind of up in the air how I felt. It's the same old things that usually happens to me when my back locks up like that, the facet joints, everything gets inflamed, the facet joints lock up and I can't really swing. I got some good therapy last night. And then doing my protocols every hour and slept pretty good."
Even after blasting his first drive, and with the Masters looming, he was still uncertain about making it through the day.
"If I didn't play today, I was going to pull out of the tournament totally," he said. "I wasn't going to come back on Friday. I may as well get the rest and recovery and try to get ready for Augusta."
Unfortunately for Jaidee, he was able to go -- though he made rather quick work of it, with shots like the one at the par-3 11th hole.
"I was very disciplined with doing my protocols," Day said. "I’m just trying to stay focused on the positive side of things, that I have recovered pretty good from it. I’ll try and stay on top of it and be disciplined with the protocols and go from there."
Day’s protocols, by the way, are designed to "citrate the [bulged] disk, to try to slowly push that back in and take the pressure off that disk and then also try and relax the muscles as much as possible."
The more you know …
Next up for the injured golfer (if you hadn't heard, beware him) is Paul Casey.
Beware the injured golfer.— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) March 24, 2016
Jason Day puts in an inspired display to defeat Thongchai 5&3. pic.twitter.com/UcqkUynggH
Day will advance to the Round of 16 with a win or tie. Casey (0-1-1) has already been eliminated.