After splitting with his longtime coach earlier this year, former No. 1-ranked golfer Jason Day has reached out to another player whom he believes can help him understand his back issues: Tiger Woods.
Woods, who successfully returned from spinal fusion surgery in 2017, has been talking to Day for about a month about ways to deal with the back issues both players face.
“It’s more about the process of changing my swing to alleviate the back pain,” Day said Wednesday at Olympia Fields (Illinois) Golf Club, site of this week’s BMW Championship. “I know his back is far worse off than what mine is. I’ve never had major procedures on my back like he has, so I’m in a better situation there.
“Currently right now, I talk to him about certain positions in the golf swing to kind of help me in regards to making sure that my swing doesn’t get along even further that what it is right now. I’ve been trying to work on some of the things that myself and Tiger have talked about.”
Day is currently ranked 35th in the world and is 50th in the FedEx Cup standings, meaning he needs a big week to advance to next week’s Tour Championship. Earlier this year he had slipped outside of the top 60 in the world. He has not won in more than two years, since the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship.
In July, Day split with his Australian longtime coach Colin Swatton — who had worked with Day since he was a teenager — in an effort to try to go it alone. He’s had good results since, with four consecutive top-10s including a tie for fourth at the PGA Championship. He missed the cut last week at the Northern Trust.
“Jason and I have had a great relationship for a very long time, since he’s been on tour. And we’ve talked about a number of things, and obviously one of the topics we do tend to talk about because we both have bad backs now and mine is a little bit more progressed than his, is trying to deal with it, trying to manage it, and the evolution of the swing,” Woods said. “We can’t do what we used to do, and how do you evolve that and still be effective. But also recovery from day-to-day. Recovery techniques have changed over the years, and lifting protocols have changed.
“So that’s a lot to do with it, but the swing does evolve, it does change. You can only swing the club how the body allows you to do, and I know that firsthand from all my nine previous procedures that I’ve had done to my body. It’s just one of those things that as we age we wear things out.”
Day said all of this is an effort for him to get his game headed back toward No. 1.
“Ever since me and Col kind of split up, I reached out to him [Woods] and started chatting to him about the swing,” Day said. “Obviously someone who’s won 82 times, you kind of have to listen. Every swing I have on my phone is either myself or Tiger’s swing, so any time I get a Tiger swing from my buddies, I send it straight to him and then we chat about the swing.”