LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After Jason Day won the WGC-Match Play Championship in February he found himself in a painful cycle of poor play, cortisone shots and uncertainty.
The left-thumb injury that limited the Australian to just eight PGA Tour starts since his Match Play victory also severely limited his ability to practice.
Day’s caddie and swing coach Col Swatton figures the two-time Tour winner hit about 500 range balls between the Match Play and last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
But on Monday of the Bridgestone Invitational, Day and Swatton weakened his grip to alleviate the repeated impact on his ailing thumb. Since then Swatton figures Day has hit more than 1,000 range balls and the practice has paid off at the PGA Championship.
Day birdied his last two holes for a second-round 65 and 8-under total, which left him tied with Jim Furyk for second place.
“It was a little surprising,” Day admitted. “Obviously I wasn’t expecting it with the poor form that I’ve had over the last few tournaments that I’ve played. But we worked very, very hard last week.”
That work went largely unnoticed when Day had to withdraw during the third round of the Bridgestone Invitational with vertigo, but now he finds himself back in contention at a major championship.
“I’ve been close a lot of times,” said Day, who has three runner-up finishes in major championships and tied for eighth at the 2013 PGA. “I’ve said it before, I just have to keep knocking on the door. ... It’s either hopefully it falls my way or just knock the door down and take it.”