PGA Tour star Jason Day reveals one of his biggest career regrets

PGA Tour star Jason Day revealed his anguish at skipping the 2016 Olympic Games before teeing it up in the 2024 John Deere Classic.

Jason Day
Jason Day

PGA Tour star Jason Day will be making his first appearance at the Olympic Games this summer

The golfer will go for gold for Australia alongside Min Woo Lee

Day, 35, had the opportunity to represent his nation eight years ago in Rio de Janeiro. 

At the time, he was riding the crest of a wave as the world's number one golfer.

But he opted not to compete in Brazil and, at the time, said his decision was primarily down to his fears of a mosquito-borne virus spreading. 

“The reason for my decision is my concerns about the possible transmission of the Zika virus and the potential risks that it might present to my wife’s future pregnancies and to future members of our family," he previously said. 

It's clear he's sorry he made that choice as he opened up on the subject before the John Deere Classic

Day, who joined the Tour in 2008, will be making his 350th start at TPC Deere Run. 

"I really didn't have any plans on playing the Olympics because it was never on the radar," he told reporters. "You're torn between two worlds. 

"Hey, the media is asking what it's like to be an Olympian. I'm like, I've never really wanted to play in the Olympics because it was never part of the Olympics, not until early 1900s, so it's just never something I ever thought about.

"I love watching the Olympics. But now, kind of looking back -- I spoke about it last week. 

"Looking back on it, I probably should have gone to Rio and played. I think it's something bigger than yourself. 

"You're actually representing your country and your sport. As an Australian, the Olympics is a big thing because we're a big sporting nation.

"To get another turn at it I feel very grateful for it."

Day faces the prospect of a few busy weeks. 

"The travel is going to be kind of back and forth," he added.  

"I'm going to go Open Championship, back for a week, and fly back over. So the time zones and shifts will be a little bit tough. 

"I am not going to the opening ceremony, but treat it like a normal tournament and try and get over there and win a medal. It would be nice. That is always a goal.

"But [I am] looking forward to presenting Australia, first and foremost. 

"I have never -- I have represented Australia at every level, junior and amateur and obviously now I get to represent Australia at its highest level as an Olympian."

Jason Day
Jason Day
Back injury woes

For so many years Day was plagued with chronic back issues that forced him to withdraw from many tournaments and take extended breaks from the game. 

He's also had to deal with bouts of vertigo. 

Day considered walking away from the game for good, he said. 

But he persevered and decided to turn to the renowned golf instructor Chris Como in the hopes of finding a way of swinging the club without putting too much strain on his back. 

The results have been spectacular. 

After a five-year winless drought, Day scooped the 2023 AT&T Byron Nelson Championship in Texas.

And appears the back issues are now long gone. 

"I used to but not anymore," Day said when asked by a reporter if he has to nurse his back and adjust his schedule accordingly.  

"I feel like I worked my way out of it, touch wood, so I feel good."

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