PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — After Jason Day withdrew from last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, he headed to Palm Beach to see a doctor. He got several injections in and around his spine, which alleviated much of the pain. Then he headed back to Orlando, where he and his family headed to DisneyWorld on Friday. But when one fan snapped a photo of Day’s family, it spread across social media, drawing some criticism. On Tuesday at the Players Championship, Day responded to those critics.
“So Friday I heard there was a photo going on social media about me enjoying a day with my family. Heaven forbid I enjoy a day with my family, and I was there half a day walking around,” he said, explaining that his doctor had instructed him to stay active.
Day has now played two pain-free practice rounds at TPC Sawgrass, and he’s optimistic about the week ahead. But he began a conversation Tuesday that went beyond the specific photograph and to the topic of social media at large. Day explained that it can be tricky having to always take the higher ground, given his platform. “It’s like when have you a fan yell at you on the golf course, you can’t — you want to go over there and get into him, but unfortunately it makes you look bad. And that’s the same with social media.”
“You’re put on a pedestal as an athlete or as a celebrity, I guess, and as soon as you bite on what they’re trying to get at, you can’t really you don’t gain anything from it, other than it makes you look sour or angry or bitter…that’s just social media and that’s why I don’t look at it. I don’t really look at it. I have an Instagram account, I have Twitter, but I really don’t look at it too much.”
Day also addressed criticism of his unusually high WD rate, which has seen him pull out nine times in 236 starts on Tour. “I mean, that’s pretty low percentage. I mean, it’s not a lot. I heard some article about sports betting and some nonsense about reports with regards to injuries. I’m like, I mean, are we going to get into psych reports now, too, if you have a fight with your missus at home? You know, I mean like it’s just — and these things, like you’re going down kind of a really rocky road when it comes to that stuff.”
Day also likened the criticism he faced online to the bullying he’d faced in school at a younger age. “I got bullied, I mean, a lot at school, but it’s just words. So you just got to take it on the chin and just get up and go again.”
For Day, resisting the urge to lash back out comes down to keeping perspective. “I’ve got a good family. I’ve got three kids that are healthy and happy at home. I’m in a tremendous spot,” he said. In the end, he said the trip to Disney was “fantastic” even though he couldn’t go on any rides. As for the photo itself? Day thought it was rather flattering.
“That person that took a photo took a tremendous photo of me,” he said. “I actually liked it. But it was kind of creepy, just on the side.”