Still ailing, Aussie Day makes major debut

Jason Day of Australia

Chronic sinus infection or not, nothing will keep Australian Jason Day away from the Open Championship at St. Andrews.

Following the withdrawal of fellow Queenslander Greg Norman, Day makes his first start in a major on Thursday.

“It’s very exciting, especially at the home of golf,” Day said. “I’m pumped for it.”

Day said it’s an honor to take his hero’s place in field.

Australians in The Open

Mathew Goggin

John Senden

Robert Allenby

Jason Day

Michael Sim

Ewan Porter

Cameron Percy

Peter Senior

Marc Leishman

Adam Scott

Geoff Ogilvy

Kurt Barnes

“I’ve known Greg since I was about 15,” he said. “We talk here and there, exchange e-mails off and on. He’s just been a real good guy to me, and he’s been a very big support.

“I haven’t talked to him lately, but I hope everything is okay. I hope that nothing has gone wrong that he couldn’t play in the Open.”

Norman hasn’t played competitively since undergoing shoulder surgery in September.

“I’m disappointed that I will not be able to participate in this year’s Open Championship, but unfortunately it is taking me longer than expected to regain my competitive form,’’ said Norman, who lifted the Claret Jug at Turnberry in 1986 and at Royal St. George’s in 1993. He tied for third at Royal Birkdale in 2008.

Earlier this year, Day suffered bronchitis and said he has been unable to shake the effects – even during his first PGA Tour victory at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in May.

The problem also pushed him out of qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open.

Day said last week there is a 50 percent chance he will need sinus surgery to cure the on-going health issue.

“It’s been going on for four months now, a long, long time,” Day said. “We’re going to get it either way, either medically or surgically, and we’ll be back to 100 percent.”

Day made the Open field as an alternate; he was the leading world-ranked player not already exempt.

••••••••••

Welcome back: Aussie Peter Senior, playing in his sixth British Open and his first in a decade, said that just making the weekend cut is his goal. Senior, 50, qualified through the Australasian round of January’s international final qualifying at Kingston Heath in Melbourne. Playing St. Andrews for the first time since the 2000 Open, Senior said the Old Course is playing tough. “I’m excited that I’ve got two weeks here,” he said. “I’ve got St. Andrews and then Carnoustie next week for the Senior (British) Open.” Senior’s best Open finish was T-4 in 1993.

PGA of Australia contributed to this report.

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