Former World No. 1 Jason Day withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Thursday. But unlike Tiger Woods, Davis Love and Talor Gooch, who all withdrew with some sort of injury prior to the event, Day played six full holes and then called it quits from the fairway on hole No. 7. Day explained to his caddie and playing partners that he could not continue due to a back injury.
Day’s withdrawal caused quite a stir on social media and in the betting market. Especially after Day told reporters following his WD that he “woke up and couldn’t really walk or sit up in the car” after last Saturday’s practice round at TPC Sawgrass in preparation for next week’s PLAYERS Championship,
“I was on a dose pack to try to get the inflammation out of it and that didn’t get any better,” Day said. “I saw a physio here (in Orlando) and tried to do as much work as I possibly could to get ready for this week,“ Day said. “I couldn’t play at 100 percent today, so I just wanted to see if I could get out here and may have loosened up.
“But unfortunately it didn’t, so I had to pull out.”
Will Gray of the Golf Channel said in an interview that Day had an annular tear in the L4/L5 disc which was revealed following an MRI this past Monday. He was taking some anti-inflammation medicine and carefully moving around the locker room after his WD from the event.
Day’s WD and impact on the betting market
Day won the 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational and was one of the betting favorites this week at 14/1 odds to win the tournament. Day was also listed in a number of head-to-head 72 hold match-ups. Sportsbook rules grade any match-up or outright wagers as a loss when a golfer withdraws after he tees off on his first hole.
However, some sportsbooks again came to the bettors’ defense and offered a goodwill refund of bets made on Jason Day. That includes Ladbrokes, Sportsbet, and new legal U.S. operators FanDuel Sportsbook.
Should players health reports be disclosed?
Most bettors and daily fantasy sports (DFS) players are feeling like this is another example of why injuries and health reports need to be disclosed. Do the players owe it to the PGA, fans or gamblers to report health issues?
According to a PGA spokesperson, the answer, for now, is NO.
“For the foreseeable future, medical information is considered confidential,” the spokesperson said. “Players are not required to disclose an injury.”
Fellow PGA pro Kevin Kisner made his point on the subject clear.
“It’s nobody’s business,” said Kisner, co-chairman of the Tour’s Player Advisory Council, on Thursday. “I mean, are we out here to gamble, or are we out here to play golf? I don’t really give a s*** about the DFS guys. You should have picked someone else. If he had shot 65 and he had a hurt back, those guys wouldn’t have said anything.”
Gamblers often seem to feel a sense of entitlement, and they are often critical of league rules changes and reporting procedures. But the league injury reporting is not likely to change anytime soon. Even if it would seem of interest to the PGA Tour, sponsors, fans and especially gamblers.
Gamblers need to soften their stance on the issue and quit complaining. That includes verbal attacks on players and through social media rants. Bettors place bets on NFL players knowing they are playing injured, and rest assured many PGA pros are dinged up and feeling the aches and pains and even playing injured.
Day didn’t play in the Pro-Am Wednesday, which could have been a warning sign. Many golfers are playing injured to some degree, and Day has even missed three other Wednesday Pro-Ams in his career due to injury or illness and won the tournament four days later.
Gambling comes with a risk. Day took a far greater one even trying to play in Thursday’s opening round. He likely did so to not only test his back, body and ability to perform in the days and weeks ahead, but also to satisfy a commitment he’s made as a professional golfer. He may be an independent contractor and play for himself, but he and fellow Tour players at all levels represent the PGA for fans, sponsors, fellow competitors and this week the King – Arnold Palmer. Give Day and the Tour a break.