SAN DIEGO – Jason Day kept two white towels tucked into his staff bag Thursday at Torrey Pines.
One was for cleaning his clubs.
The other? For blowing his nose.
Still under the weather after a weeklong bout with the flu, Day couldn’t maintain a hot start to his opening round on the easier North Course and settled for an even-par 72 at the Farmers Insurance Open. He is tied for 76th.
Running out of energy toward the end of the round, Day declined all interview requests and headed to get some rest.
Day’s caddie, Colin Swatton, said there was serious doubt about the world No. 2’s status for the Farmers, his first of five wins a year ago.
“We talked about it for the last couple of days, back and forth,” Swatton said. “He wants to compete and wants to play. He’s the defending champion, and no one wants to pull out of any event, let alone one that you’re defending.”
After missing the pro-am, Day arrived about an hour before his tee time and went through a full warmup session. He still didn’t look right – he moved gingerly, held his nose, took deep breaths. But he still made birdie on three of his first six holes to briefly share the early lead.
His round began to unravel with a three-putt bogey on No. 17 (his eighth of the day), a par on the easy par-5 18th when he was just short of the green in two shots, and another three-jack for bogey on the first hole.
Swatton said he noticed that Day, one of the Tour’s most fit players, was out of breath as he climbed up the hill to the seventh green. He made bogey from just off the green, then dropped another shot on No. 8.
“It’s mainly just physically no energy,” he said.
For the round, Day hit only three of 14 fairways and took 33 putts. On Friday, he will play the more difficult South Course, which played more than two-and-a-half shots tougher on Day 1.
“He practiced extremely hard last week and had some really, really good sessions, was flushing the ball; he said it’s the best he’s hit it for a long time,” Swatton said. “It’s just disappointing to not be able to come here and use all that hard work and battle it around for even par.”