Former World No. 1 Jason Day withdraws from John Deere Classic before starting

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Former World No. 1 Jason Day withdrew from the John Deere Classic on Thursday before the start of the first round, citing a back injury.

Day, who won the 2015 PGA Championship among his 12 Tour titles, is winless for more than three years. He’s plummeted to No. 137 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Day, 34, missed the cut last week at the Travelers Championship. He has just one top-10 finish this season, a tie for third at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. The Aussie finished T-55 at the PGA Championship in May, the only major he qualified for this season. He isn’t in the field for next week’s British Open at St. Andrews, where he finished T-4 in 2015, and a top finish at the John Deere was his last chance to earn a spot in the 150th Open.

Day’s most recent withdrawal from a PGA Tour event was at the 2021 Memorial when he said he tweaked his balky back. Prior to that, he pulled out of the 2020 CJ Cup in Las Vegas, where he was in contention, during the final round with a neck injury.

Day has battled an assortment of injuries primarily to his back and has dealt with spasms that flare up periodically.

Last year, he started working with instructor Chris Como and made changes to his swing designed to take stress off his back. Earlier this year, he claimed to be “injury-free.”

Day was replaced in the field at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois, by Ted Potter III.