Nicklaus: He Should Be Here (*Update)
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Day is tired

Earlier this week Jason Day pulled out of the Memorial Tournament because after playing the last three in a row, he was tired and needed a break before the US Open. Day and his wife Ellie, a native of Lucas, Ohio, built a house in the Columbus area and are in the process of moving in. During Jack Nicklaus’ presser on Tuesday, a reporter informed him that Day was given playing privileges at Muirfield Village yet had withdrawn from the event. Let’s just say Nicklaus didn’t look or sound thrilled with the news.

“He does (have playing privileges) and he’s not here?” said Jack. “We’ll take that away. I did not know that. Does Jason live around here?”

I’m pretty sure Jack was at least half joking at this point.

The Australian reporter then said, “He’s married to a girl from Ohio.”

Jack replied, “Oh, he did?”

Yep. Nicklaus seemed so surprised by the situation that when asked for his opinion on Day as a golfer, he asked again if Jason’s wife was from Ohio.

“He’s a good player and if he’s got a gal from — he has married a gal from Ohio?” he said.

“He should be here.”

An important detail was left out in all of this, and I’m not sure anyone really knows about it. Ellie had surgery a few weeks ago and she was still recovering when I saw her at The Players. She has a follow-up appointment with a doctor in Houston next this week. With the hectic process of moving over the last few months and Ellie’s recent operation, I think it’s safe to say Jason probably wanted to spend some downtime with Ellie.

So it sounds like it’s a bit of unfortunate timing more than Jason being disrespectful.

*Update, Wednesday, June 1, 11pm:

Just to clarify, when I talked to Ellie at The Players, she was in a lot of pain. She didn’t arrive until Friday because she needed to wait at least a week before hopping on a plane (doctor’s orders!).

At the time this post was published, Jason and Ellie couldn’t be reached, but since then, I’ve heard back from Ellie. Turns out the situation is basically what I said above, except Ellie had to see the doctor this week in Houston, not next.

“I had to go back to Houston this week to have a check-up after my surgery,” Ellie wrote in a text message. “I’m fine, I’ve just overdone it the past couple weeks. We are trying to get settled in Ohio the next week or so.”

Given the extenuating circumstances — it’s nothing life-threatening and probably/hopefully will make more sense in the near future — it’s understandable why Jason withdrew from The Memorial to be with Ellie, but doesn’t want to broadcast the details.

For what it’s worth, when I wrote this post originally, it made me think of this tweet and this transcript from The Players last month.