Former PGA TOUR winner and Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee has urged Jason Day to look at the longevity of sporting icons Roger Federer and Tom Brady in order to avoid the back injury currently plaguing him from ending his career prematurely.
Speaking ahead of this week’s THE PLAYERS Championship where Day is one of six Australians in the field, in typically abrupt fashion Chamblee didn’t hold back when asked to assess the ongoing back issues that forced Day to withdraw early in the second round of last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
Choosing to walk nine holes of Pete Dye’s famed Stadium Course layout on Monday rather than subject his back to any unnecessary stress, Day was the fourth Australian winner of THE PLAYERS when he triumphed in 2016 but Chamblee has grave concerns that the 32-year-old Queenslander will have many more opportunities to add a second.
“You know, if you’ve got a short, quick golf swing, you’re going to have a short, quick career. Especially if you’ve got a violent transition the way he’s had,” Chamblee said.
“He had a wonderful run in his 20s, nice run through his early 30s, but I can remember a point where he got up and said he was trying to shorten his golf swing.
“I thought, That’s the exact opposite thing you need to be doing. Just go back and look at people with short, quick golf swings and you tell me which one of them had a wonderful extended career, from Doug Sanders to Nick Price.
“They were brilliant players, but they’re not Sam Snead, they’re not Julius Boros, they’re not Phil Mickelson.
“I don’t know that the calamity is irreversible, but it might be.”
In addition to the new regime implemented by world No.1 and defending champion Rory McIlroy, Chamblee suggested the extraordinary careers of Federer and NFL legend Brady could provide an insight to Day extending his career well into his 40s.
Federer is currently in his 23rd year as a tennis professional while six-time Super Bowl MVP Brady made his NFL debut in 2000 but Chamblee said Day need only look down the range to address the stress his swing is placing on his body.
“I don’t know if Rory talked about Whoop, the thing that he has under his arm. You can’t even see it,” said Chamblee, whose best finish in nine starts at THE PLAYERS was a tie for 42nd.
“He has a device under his arm that looks like a wrist watch. That Whoop measures the amount of stress that you’re under every single day, practising, training and it impresses upon you recovery and it impresses upon you the importance of sleep.
“When I would hear Jason Day talk about all the sacrifices he needed to make in the gym and practising, I never really heard him pay proper attention to recovery.
“One of the great things we’re seeing with Rory is this thing that’s under his arm, we’re learning from Brady and we’re learning from Federer how to extend your career.
“Rory in his late 20s, early 30s, when you think you’re physiologically bulletproof, he has learned from them and I think Jason Day could learn from Rory and Federer and Brady.”
Round 1 tee times AEDT
US PGA TOUR
THE PLAYERS Championship
TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
11.02pm Aaron Baddeley, Scott Stallings, Michael Thompson
12.08am* Marc Leishman, JT Poston, Francesco Molinari
12.30am Danny Lee, Ryan Moore, Abraham Ancer
3.56am* Matt Jones, Adam Schenk, Jazz Janewattananond
4.18am* Cameron Smith, Keegan Bradley, Ian Poulter
4.40am Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele
5.24am Jason Day, Kevin Na, Patton Kizzire
Defending champion: Rory McIlroy
Past Australian champions: Steve Elkington (1991, 1997), Greg Norman (1994), Adam Scott (2004), Jason Day (2016)
Top Aussie prediction: Marc Leishman
TV schedule: Live Friday 4am-10am, Saturday 4am-10am, Sunday 5am-10am, Monday 4am-9am on Fox Sports 503.