Golf: Day says disciplined routine has helped him keep back issues at bay

Aug 7, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Jason Day starts to celebrate too soon on the 10th green during the second round of the 2020 PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Former world number one Jason Day said his chronic back problems left him struggling to walk around a golf course when the sport returned in mid-June after the COVID-19 break, but he is now in a better place physically.

The 32-year-old Australian carded a second-round 69 at the PGA Championship on Friday for a share of second place to stay in contention for only the second major of his career.

“Physically, I feel great. I’m always trying to stay disciplined with my exercises and soft tissue work... overall, I feel good,” overnight co-leader Day told reporters.

“When I first came out (after the COVID-19 shutdown), I struggled to walk around a golf course and play. You know, it hurt to walk. But now I feel great and I feel fine.”

Day, who won the 2015 PGA Championship, arrived at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco having finished inside the top 10 in his last three starts.

But he had missed the cut in three other events after the golf season resumed following a three-month hiatus.

“I’ve been in such a terrible head space for the last six months that... I’m trying to have a better outlook, a better attitude about it,” Day added.

“I definitely feel good. I’m to the point now where I’m nitpicking my round and before I really wasn’t. Before, I was just happy to get inside the cut and get on to the weekend.

“And sometimes you need those weeks to just make it and get some confidence. I certainly have gained a lot of confidence over the last three times I’ve played.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry