Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Jason Day's back feels fine, but he's a little lighter at the Masters

Jason Day is feeling fine.

Inside the ropes, he has no reason to feel anything but great. He's won his last two starts -- back-to-back wins at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the WGC-Dell Match Play. He's back at the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. He's vying for a second consecutive major this week at the Masters.

However, Day won the WGC-Dell Match Play not feeling his best. He tweaked his back in his Day 1 match against Graeme McDowell and offered some doubt if he'd be able to continue. Then, in his next match, he drove the green at the 370-yard first and boat-raced Thongchai Jaidee. The rest was history. 

What Day didn't mention that week in Texas was that he was also battling an illness.

"I lost 11 pounds over the course of the Match Play,” Day told Golf Channel, describing flu-like symptoms. “But other than that, I feel fine and worked hard during the break."

In his Tuesday news conference, Day said both his back and body are in good shape.

“Right now, I'm not even thinking about it because I don't have any problems at all," Day said. "My back is fine and health is fine and everything's great.”

The new world No. 1 is looking to win a third start in a row and a second straight major title, following up a PGA Championship win where he became the first player to finish at 20 under par in a major. He beat Jordan Spieth by three strokes that week at Whistling Straits, but Day not only expects, he hopes for, a closer finish at Augusta National.

“I want the best playing against the best, and fighting out for it," he said Tuesday.

"If I end up not wearing the green jacket at the end of Sunday but I have a fantastic competitive match on Sunday against the best players in the world, that's what I'm there for. I enjoy and thrive off that competitiveness. I would enjoy a Spieth‑McIlroy‑Fowler‑Scott‑Watson‑Mickelson Sunday. That would be a lot of fun.”

The Aussie, who was runner-up here in 2011, may have downplayed the impact of a loss, perhaps a close call, this week. However, it's evident Day wants a Masters crown.

“This tournament is very important to me," he said, "watching it as a young kid on TV, and the one I really want to win.”

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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