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Player: Jason Day

  • Tiger Woods and Jason Day practice together and text regularly. (Getty Images)

    Tiger Woods’ comeback has stalled, with the 14-time major winner bowing out of the PGA Tour’s season-opening Safeway Open on the Monday of tournament week. He’s backed out of a planned start at the European Tour’s Turkish Airlines Open in November. The next time we could expect to see Woods compete is the Hero World Challenge, run by his foundation, in December in the Bahamas.

    However, world No. 1 Jason Day doesn’t expect Woods to make that start, and he was skeptical of Woods’ ability to return when he announced his intention to come back to competitive golf in September.

    “I never really had any faith in him coming back this year,” Day said, according to Golf Australia. “The state of his game, I’m not sure. His back is so sore. I think we’ll see him sometime next year, but I’m not sure when.”

    In announcing his withdrawal from the Safeway Open, Woods said his game is “vulnerable” and needed more time to get it ready. Woods mentioned in announcing his withdrawal that he was inspired by the play of the Americans at the Ryder Cup, for which he was a vice-captain. Day mentioned Woods was invigorated by Phil Mickelson’s close call to Henrik Stenson at the Open Championship in July.

    “I think he misses being out here, which is understandable because the competition is so addicting,” Day said. “He saw Phil Mickelson playing well at the Open Championship, and that got him going. But he knows he can’t push it.”

    Woods hasn’t played competitive golf since finishing tied for 10th place in the Wyndham Championship in August 2015. Complaining of hip pain that week, he later learned the source of that pain was the same spot on his back where a microdiscectomy was performed in March 2014. Another microdiscectomy was done in September 2015, with a follow-up procedure done the next month.

    Day still wants to see Woods play again, although the Aussie believes Woods should have diminished expectations.

    “I’m looking forward to seeing him play again,” Day said, “seeing what the state of his game is.”

    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Jack Nicklaus presents Dustin Johnson with the Jack Nicklaus Trophy for winning PGA TOUR Player of the Year during the Player of the Year ceremony with Jack Nicklaus at The Bear’s Club on October 11, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

    Dustin Johnson completed the Player of the Year two-fer on Tuesday, when the PGA Tour announced Johnson’s peers had voted him recipient of their POY award.

    Johnson was one of six candidates on the ballot for PGA Tour players to acknowledge as having the best 2015-16 season. It’s hard to argue against Johnson, who won his first major at the U.S. Open in June, as well the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the BMW Championship during the FedEx Cup playoffs. Johnson also finished second in the final FedEx Cup standings, behind Rory McIlroy.

    The South Carolina native also had a remarkably consistent season, notching 15 top-10 finishes in 22 starts.

    Curiously, Johnson said Tuesday in accepting the award that he didn’t vote for himself. In fact, he didn’t vote at all. For what it’s worth, Jason Day had the second-best season by most standards, winning three times, including The Players, the WGC-Dell Match Play and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. However, an injury-plagued finish to the season may have cost him an opportunity to win the award.

    During the week of the Ryder Cup, the PGA of America announced Johnson had won their points-based Player of the Year award. Johnson has also won the Vardon Trophy, which is awarded to the player with the lowest adjusted scoring average, as well the Palmer Trophy, awarded to the player who wins the money list title, and the Nelson Trophy, the PGA Tour’s scoring average title.

    With so many awards and accomplishments in tow from this year, Johnson doesn’t feel like he’s reached his pinnacle. Rather, he feels he’s finally on his way to realizing his true potential.

    “Obviously my expectations going into next year are going to be very high, and that’s going to drive me to keep continuing to work hard and keep doing exactly what I’m doing because it’s working,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in the game right now, in all parts of the game. I feel good. There’s nothing that I don’t feel good with.”

    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Jason Day, left, and Justin Rose struggled with injuries in 2016. (AP)

    Jason Day and Justin Rose are planning to take the next few months off as they each try to rest back injuries that affected them throughout the season.

    Rose announced he will be taking two months off from competitive golf, as he gets to spend some time away following a busy summer that included the major championships and becoming the first Olympic gold medalist in golf in 112 years. Rose experienced a herniated disc at The Players in May, and he took about a month off to deal with the problem. With the PGA Tour season and the Ryder Cup now in the rear-view mirror, Rose will take off the remainder of the European Tour season.

    Hi guys – disappointed to share this news with you all, but looking forward to being back to competition. #Team????

    A photo posted by Justin Rose (@justinprose99) on Oct 5, 2016 at 10:47am PDT

    Day has been dealing with back issues for years now, and he faced on en route to victory in March at the WGC-Dell Match Play. However, the world No. 1 had a flare up of the issue during the BMW Championship, the third of four FedEx Cup playoff events, in September, forcing him to withdraw in the final round. Even with a week to recuperate, Day then withdrew from the season-ending Tour Championship with the same back problem.

    In response, Day announced he will be skipping the World Cup of Golf with intended partner Adam Scott, as well the Australian Open and a planned charity match with Rory McIlroy in the Philippines.

    “I regret that I will be unable to come home to Australia this year,” Day said in a statement. “I was looking forward to playing in the Australian Open and teaming up with Adam Scott on one of my favorite courses Kingston Heath the following week at the World Cup in Melbourne. My plan is to return home to Australia in 2017.”

    Day had three PGA Tour wins in the 2015-16 season, earning more than $8 million.

    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

  • The PGA Tour season ends this week, with the FedEx Cup playoff champion decided at the conclusion of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

    The top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings are in the field, all with a mathematical chance of winning the FedEx Cup. If any of the top five players in the standings — Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Jason Day or Paul Casey — win the Tour Championship, then they win the FedEx Cup and its $10 million first-place prize.

    Here are our top five players this week:

    Dustin Johnson won the BMW Championship and leads the FedEx Cup standings. (Getty Images)

    1. Dustin Johnson – The BMW Championship winner also happens to play pretty well at East Lake. He hasn’t won here, and he doesn’t necessarily have to do that this week to win the FedEx Cup.

    2. Adam Scott – Scott could very easily be No. 1, playing excellent golf in the playoffs and having a solid East Lake record.

    3. Rory McIlroy – McIlroy is playing well, obviously winning at TPC Boston. He seems to find a way to start well, then end poorly here. Maybe that changes.

    4. Paul Casey – Casey has been in position to win each of the last two playoff events, and that’s probably a safe bet to continue here at East Lake.

    5. Jason Day – Day would be ranked a little higher were he not a bit of an injury risk with what happened to his back at the BMW Championship.

    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Assessing the 2016 Ryder Cup teams

  • Jason Day is hoping to overcome a nagging back problem in Atlanta. (Getty Images)

    Jason Day withdrew after nine holes of the final round of the BMW Championship, citing a back injury that had flared up en route to victory at the WGC-Dell Match Play in March.

    With a full week to rest, the Aussie world No. 1 is hopeful his back will hold up at East Lake and the Tour Championship, where he is in position to win the FedEx Cup for the first time.

    According to Golf Channel, Day characterized himself as “cautiously optimistic” about this week as he tries to move on from what was diagnosed as a pinched joint capsule in his lower back.

    Day comes into the PGA Tour season and playoff finale with a simple marching order: At No. 4 in the rankings, he can win the FedEx Cup and its $10 million first-place prize with a win in the Tour Championship. At a minimum, he needs to finish in the top three to have a mathematical chance of winning the season-long race.

    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Assessing the 2016 Ryder Cup teams

  • In-Gee Chun set a new bar for major championship scoring on Sunday at The Evian Championship, the LPGA’s fifth and final major of the year, in France.

    Chun won her second major title, following her 2015 U.S. Women’s Open win in Pennsylvania, winning by four shots over So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park at 21-under-par 263 at Evian Resort Golf Club. That’s the best-ever four-round total shot in relationship to par in a major championship. The previous LPGA record was 19 under par, shot by five different players in Tour history, most recently coming when Inbee Park shot the number to win the 2015 Women’s PGA Championship. Jason Day held the overall record with a 20-under-par total in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

    “I just cannot believe I won the Evian Championship,” said the 22-year-old Korean after her win, the second of her LPGA career. “I made 21 under par. I’m not dreaming, right?”

    The result is quite a turnaround for Chun, who missed the cut in this event last year. For the week, Chun only dropped four shots to par on three holes, including a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 ninth in the third round. Chun locked up the major scoring record with an unconventional par on the final hole. She drove her ball to the right, chipped out to set up a layup on the finishing hole, which found the green. Needing a 10-footer to lock up her record total, Chun calmly sank the putt for a final round of 2-under 69 and the win.

    World No. 1 and defending champion Lydia Ko wasn’t a factor from the outset, finishing in a tie for 43rd place, 23 shots behind Chun.

    Ariya Jutanugarn, vying for her sixth win on the second and second major in a row, finished tied for ninth place along with Brooke Henderson, who won the Women’s PGA Championship this year, and American Gerina Piller.

  • Dustin Johnson may well have wrapped up PGA Tour Player of the Year honors on Sunday, winning the BMW Championship by three shots over Paul Casey for his third win of the season.

    Johnson shot a final round of 5-under 67 at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind., to finish at 23-under 265. Locked in a battle with Casey in the final pairing, Johnson likely secured his title when he was able to make an 18-foot eagle putt on top of Casey’s 25-foot eagle at the par-5 15th hole. From there, Johnson made pars into the house for the win.

    This victory follows Johnson’s breakthrough major at the U.S. Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, tying him with Jason Day for the most wins on the PGA Tour this season.

    This was Johnson’s 12th PGA Tour win, and he’s quickly developing a closer’s mentality with a chance to hoist a trophy.

    “The more I practice, the more I’m in the situation, the more I know what to do and what to expect in the situations and kind of know what shots that I can hit and not to hit and I like it,” he said. “I enjoy being in the hunt and having to hit really good shots when you need to and I felt like the last few times I’ve been there I’ve hit some great golf shots to finish it off.”

    Dustin Johnson is playing the best golf on the planet right now. (Getty Images)

    While Casey wasn’t able to end a PGA Tour winless skid dating back the 2009 Shell Houston Open, he was able to move into the top five in the FedEx Cup standings. That assures the Englishman that he can win the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize outright if he can win the playoff- and season-ending Tour Championship in two weeks in Atlanta.

    Johnson heads into East Lake as the FedEx Cup leader, while Barclays winner Patrick Reed is second, Adam Scott is third and world No. 1 Jason Day, who withdrew from the BMW after nine holes on Sunday with a back problem, is fourth.

    Rory McIlroy, who won the Deutsche Bank Championship, is in sixth, while defending FedEx Cup champion Jordan Spieth is seventh. In the previous nine years of the FedEx Cup, no player has successfully defended the season-long title.

    Four players managed to play their way into the top 30 with their Sunday finish. Roberto Castro made the move of the week with his solo third-place finish, going from 53rd to 21st. J.B. Holmes, who finished tied for fourth, and Daniel Berger also played into the Tour Championship. Charl Schwartzel, who also tied for fourth, went from 43rd to 30th, making Rickie Fowler this year’s bubble boy as the first man out of the playoff finale.

    For Fowler, however, the Ryder Cup is a bigger deal. He doesn’t know if he’s done enough to merit a wild-card pick, three of which will be made on Monday, from Davis Love III.

    “I’ve done basically everything I can do as far as schedule and playing and obviously it would have been nice to play better to make the pick a lot easier on him, but whether he has his mind made up or is still thinking, that’s up to him,” Fowler said.

    Castro, who went to Georgia Tech, is excited to go home with an opportunity to win a lot of money.

    “I got nothing to lose,” Castro said. “There’s 10 million good reasons to play aggressive at home. So, it’s going to be great. Friends and family there, and I love going back to East Lake.”

    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Assessing the 2016 Ryder Cup teams

  • Jason Day is dealing with a back problem. (Getty Images)

    Jason Day has withdrawn from the final round of the BMW Championship on Sunday, citing a back injury.

    Day entered the final round at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., at 5 under par, 13 shots back of 54-hole leader Dustin Johnson. He played nine holes before pulling out of the tournament.

    The world No. 1 will have a week to rest his injury, as the Tour Championship, the last of the four FedEx Cup playoff events, does not start until Sept. 22 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

    Day suffered a back injury earlier in the season, en route to victory at the WGC-Dell Match Play in March.

    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Assessing the 2016 Ryder Cup teams

  • Dustin Johnson had fallen off his remarkably consistent pace, and part of the reason was he wasn’t able to get putts started on his intended line. So, before the BMW Championship, Johnson made a switch in his TaylorMade putter, to a model similar to that of world No. 1 Jason Day.

    Suddenly, Johnson can’t seem to miss.

    On Friday, Johnson’s strong putting carried over from the opening round and catapulted him to a course record 9-under 63 at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind., and into a share of the lead with Roberto Castro at 14-under 130.

    “I feel like I always read the greens very well, I always have good speed, I’m just hitting a lot more putts on my line and they’re going in,” Johnson said.

    Dustin Johnson is surging again. (Getty Images)

    It helped that rains have softened the Pete Dye design, making it susceptible to good shotmaking, which Johnson has certainly done. When someone of his length is playing a complete game, it can be easier to get out of Johnson’s way rather than stand in his train tracks.

    Castro isn’t Johnson. He’s never won in 125 PGA Tour starts. He’s not all that long. He’s not a sure thing to make the Tour Championship, which would be remarkable for the Georgia Tech product and come with a host of opportunities next season including berths in the first three majors. In other words, Castro may have to compete against one of a half-dozen guys on the PGA Tour that can reduce any course, including the lengthy Crooked Stick, to a pitch-and-putt, but he has every motivation to keep grinding.

    “I think if you look at the tour, it sure helps to be long,” Castro said Friday after shooting a second consecutive 7-under 65. “But the guy who is striping it usually wins.”

    And that’s what Castro is going on this weekend thinking he has to do to get to East Lake. In actuality, that’s not the case. The math works out that a top-three finish should do the job. However, Castro knows letting up might mean falling flat.

    “You guys watch this tour every week, you play great get a chance to win, you got to finish it off,” he said. “So if you’re shooting for third or fourth, you’re probably not going to win.”

    Johnson seemed to add a little doubt into Castro’s mind. After his 63, Johnson was asked if he would be nervous were he in Castro’s shoes, trying to chase down a first PGA Tour win on this stage. In his matter-of-fact, no-B.S. way, Johnson made it clear.

    “Yeah, I would be,” he said. “For sure.”

    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Assessing the 2016 Ryder Cup teams

  • Jason Day offered a bit of a reality check for the fervor surrounding Tiger Woods’ announced plans to come back to competitive golf in October at the Safeway Open.

    Namely, that, as Woods did in 2015, he’s going to have a hard time navigating his way to the winner’s circle — and that it doesn’t have anything to do with him.

    “The game is so tight with how competitive it is and how hard it is to win,” Day said Wednesday at the BMW Championship. “I don’t think winning is going to come as easily as it was for him back in the past.”

    While Woods has 79 PGA Tour wins, he hasn’t won on the PGA Tour in three years, since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

    Woods has proven to be a mentor of sorts for Day, texting back and forth with him to offer some semblance of advice and counsel for the Aussie as he tries to become a more prolific winner week-to-week, as well in the major championships. The Woods obsession with winning seems to have rubbed off on Day, who has spoken repeatedly and at length throughout the summer about his compulsion to win as much as he can while he is still playing his best golf.

    Day, however, believes expectations should be tempered for this three-event comeback.

    “I think the hardest thing for him is just to try and get the rust out and really get back to game ready sharpness, which is obviously a difficult thing to do,” he said. “Although we’re expecting big things from him, I don’t expect too much from him, even though he is Tiger Woods.”

    Despite their relationship, Day hasn’t really had time to see Woods play golf, and he certainly hasn’t seen the 14-time major winner play competitively since last August’s Wyndham Championship. Like the rest of us, he’s anticipating just what Woods will show off in October.

    “I’m looking forward to seeing him play again, seeing what the state of his game is,” Day said. “Obviously, it’s been this time I think he’s done it the right way by waiting and not coming back too soon. There’s been a couple of times where I feel like he may have come back too soon and kind of injured himself a little bit more and that’s what’s kept him out of the game so long. But there’s probably a lot of anticipation to see how the state of his game is and I’m definitely looking forward to watching those tournaments and seeing how his body holds up and how the mental side and obviously the golf side of things hold up as well.”

    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Assessing the 2016 Ryder Cup teams

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