SOUTHPORT (Reuters) – Australian golfer Jason Day on Wednesday offered an unusual excuse for arriving later than planned for practice at the British Open — it was U.S. President Donald Trump’s fault.
The former world number one normally pitches up a week earlier for major tournaments to allow himself time to adjust to the course. But this time Day only arrived on Monday.
“I had three weeks off before this, so I could have got in early,” he said. “I was supposed to come in on Sunday. And I was flying through JFK, and President Trump was there and there was a bunch of delays. So I just decided to move my flight back a little bit later.”
Trump had been coming back through New York from the U.S. Women’s Open at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.
Day also revealed it is not the first time he has been delayed by a U.S. President.
“President Obama held me up one time flying out of Palm Springs. So I understand. It is what it is. So it was massive delays.”
When the 29-year-old Queenslander eventually arrived at the Southport links course, he took the rest of Monday off to recover.
“I usually get in Thursday or Friday and play a couple of practise rounds.
“I did it this year at Augusta and I was just truly knackered by (the start on) Thursday.”
By the time he eventually played Birkdale on Tuesday, the wind had switched, making the conditions different from what can be expected on Thursday.
“I played in a southeast wind, which is a totally different wind to what we normally get here. And I think everything is kind of switching for tomorrow’s round. So it’s going to be kind of a new golf course for me tomorrow. But regardless, I’m looking forward to trying to get back into the winner’s circle this year.”
Even though Day boasts the best scoring average of any player in majors since 2013, he has not won a tournament in over a year with injuries and his mother’s ill health disrupting his season and causing him to tumble down the world rankings to number six.
“I’m trying to not give myself too many expectations and hopefully I’m there in contention on Sunday.
“It’s really difficult to play against these guys. And when things are out of order and you’re trying to battle other things and then you try to get to a golf course and play against the best players in the world, it makes it very, very difficult to win.”
Day’s last experience of a major was disappointing. He missed the cut at the US Open after an opening-day 79, a round so bad it prompted his close friend Tiger Woods to text offering advice.
“I had a chat to him. It was more about my putting stroke. So obviously it’s great to have a set of eyes like Tiger’s, especially who’s one of the best clutch putters of all time, to be able to kind of see on TV what you’re doing wrong. So just trying to tidy up a little bit and hopefully I putt a little better this week.”
(Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)