Jason Day: Big difference between Twitter jokes and people 'that really hate you'

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Day: Big difference between Twitter jokes and people 'that really hate you'

PGA Tour

Jason Day: Big difference between Twitter jokes and people 'that really hate you'

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Jason Day withdrew from last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational early in the first round due to a back injury.

The next day, he went to Walt Disney World with his family.

The ensuing social media firestorm was both unsurprising and indicative of the nature of celebrity in 2019.

Day is one of the most recognizable players in the world, and Twitter user @Kevin_Caverly posted a photo of Day and his family at the Magic Kingdom.

“Tremendous photo of me. I actually liked it,” Day said. “But it was kind of creepy, just on the side.”

There were multiple jokes at Day’s expense considering he’d just withdrawn from the tournament at Bay Hill due back pain stemming from a tear in his L4-L5 discs.

Several media members eventually fired back at those criticizing or laughing at Day’s expense, and Disneygate took on a life of its own.

Day finally had a chance to weigh in during a Tuesday afternoon press conference at TPC Sawgrass, where he’s ready to go for the Players Championship after receiving four cortisone injections in and around his spine.

That treatment took place last Thursday in Palm Beach, Fla., the day he withdrew at Bay Hill, and Day was instructed to walk around and stay active over the weekend.

That’s why he was fine walking around a theme park with his family Friday, though he said he didn’t go on any of the rides.

Some of the social media commentary seemed lighthearted in nature – few people were suggesting that Day should lock himself in the bedroom all week after pulling out of a tournament.

On Tuesday, Day was asked where he draws the line between humorous comments and things that are actually mean-spirited.

“Like, if people make memes about me, I think a lot of them are funny,” Day said. “It’s fine. It is what it is. People trying to be funny and that. I get a good laugh out of it and I’m okay with that. You can tell between people that are being funny and people that really hate you. It’s unfortunate, but it just reflects what they are as a person.”

Day likened the whole thing to a familiar childhood experience.

“It’s like when you’re going through school and you get bullied,” Day said. “I mean, I got bullied a lot at school, but it’s just words. So you’ve just got to take it on the chin and just get up and go again.”

The 31-year-old Aussie defended his tally of nine career withdraws in 237 starts as a ‘pretty low percentage’ and scoffed at the idea that the PGA Tour should start to release injury reports as legalized sports gambling becomes more prominent.

“I heard some article about sports betting and some nonsense about reports with regards to injuries,” Day said. “I mean, are we going to get into psych reports now too if you have a fight with your missus at home? … You’re going down kind of a really rocky road when it comes to that stuff.”

Day had been hot prior to the API, with a T-5 at the Farmers Insurance Open and T-4 at Pebble Beach. He’s also the 2016 Players Championship winner and says the back feels good ahead of his 1:48 p.m. opening-round tee time Thursday with Francesco Molinari and Tony Finau.

As for the social media approach, Day says he’ll continue to ignore it for the most part.

“I just try and put my work in, try and win as many tournaments as I can and then let some other young buck take the heat.”

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