Jason Day abruptly withdrew from the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday with an injury. He completed only six holes before deciding to walk off the course.
The PGA Tour announced the news in a tweet Thursday morning just before 10:00 a.m. ET, noting that a back injury is to blame.
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) March 7, 2019
The development puts his appearance at next week’s Players Championship in doubt.
Day started his opening round on Bay Hill’s 10th hole at 7:54 a.m. ET alongside Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter. He opened with a bogey at the short par-4 10th after hitting his tee shot into a left fairway bunker.
After two pars, Day hit his approach into the pond guarding the 13th green, leading to a double bogey. He got one shot back with a birdie at 14, and then withdrew from the tournament following a par at 15.
Day spoke with Will Gray of the Golf Channel as he walked off the course, telling Gray that he hurt his back practicing at TPC Sawgrass over the weekend, and an MRI revealed an annular tear in two discs.
Spoke to Jason Day after his WD. Said he practiced last week at Sawgrass but woke up Sunday and "couldn't really walk" because of back pain. MRI revealed annular tear in L4-L5 discs. Status for Players Champ TBD.
— Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) March 7, 2019
Day, who won the 2015 PGA Championship, started the season off strong. He snagged top-5 finishes in his last two starts at the Farmers Insurance Open and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after winning two Tour events in 2018.
This marks the first withdrawal for Jason Day since back-to-back WDs at the 2016 BMW and Tour Championships that were also caused by a back injury.