Jason Day’s mother dies after 5-year battle with cancer

March 4, 2022 GMT
Ian Poulter, of England, hits a shot from the 16th fairway during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Ian Poulter, of England, hits a shot from the 16th fairway during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Ian Poulter, of England, hits a shot from the 16th fairway during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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Ian Poulter, of England, hits a shot from the 16th fairway during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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Ian Poulter, of England, hits a shot from the 16th fairway during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Jason Day withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational and rushed home to Ohio, arriving in time to be at his mother’s side when she died of cancer.

Dening Day was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017, which Day tearfully revealed at the Dell Match Play in Austin. She made progress through special treatment in Ohio, returned home to Australia and then spent the last few years with Day in Ohio when the cancer returned.

Day said on an Instagram post that she died peacefully Wednesday night. Day’s sisters and one of their children were able to leave Australia for Columbus to be with her as her condition worsened.

“We are heartbroken but incredibly grateful for the gift we had in her living with us for the last almost two years full time,” Day said. “She fought so hard until the very last breath. I am forever indebted to her for the sacrifices she made for me to be successful, and for the person she helped me to become. We will miss her so much.”

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His father died from stomach cancer when Day was 12. He was getting into trouble when his mother borrowed money from her brother and sold their house to help pay for Day to go to a boarding school with a golf program. That’s where he met Colin Swatton, who became his coach and caddie as Day reached No. 1 in the world.

POULTER TRIBUTE

Ian Poulter has been starting and ending each day watching the news of Russia’s war on Ukraine, and it was on his mind when he started the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“We just play a silly game of golf while others are in the world suffering,” he said.

Poulter did his best to find colors of the Ukraine flag — yellow trousers and a bluish top — for the opening round at Bay Hill. He shot a 68.

“I’ve got quite a few clothes in the closet, so I found a couple of colors that I think would kind of give them a little bit of respect,” Poulter said.

“I think it’s hard when you flick the news on right now and obviously you see the devastation that’s going on around the world and you feel for the people in Ukraine,” he said. “Just wearing a similar color today in respect to those suffering over there is the least I can do. Everyone’s probably thinking of all those families that are affected right now.”

ROUGH PLAUDITS

The biggest talk at Bay Hill this week is the rough, and most players seemed happy to see it, at least around the greens.

The thickness off the fairways is strong, with Adam Scott saying it’s a half-shot penalty. New this year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational is replacing mown areas just off the greens with thick grass.

Instead of shots rolling away from 20 yards on a tight lie, the ball is nestled around the greens in deep rough. Still, it’s closer to the hole and shots can be easier.

“The runoff areas we’ve seen being developed the last seven to 10 years have all been taken away and replaced with heavy rough pulled in close to the greens,” McDowell said. “That means you can get a little more aggressive to some of these pin locations, but the ball doesn’t careen quite as far away. But you are faced with quite a thick lie around the greens as well.”

Still, it’s a strong test. The average score was 72.3 for the opening round.

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