Jason Day forced out of tournament as mum fights cancer
JASON Day has repeatedly said he would not have become world number one without his mother, Dening, and now he's walking away from golf to look after her.
The 29-year-old world number three is taking an indefinite break from the game, which could mean missing the Masters next month, after revealing Dening is battling lung cancer.
Day stunned everyone when he walked off the Austin Country Club course in Texas on Thursday (Australian time) just six holes in to his opening clash against American Pat Perez at the World Matchplay Championship, where he was defending champion.
To ensure there was no speculation about his own fitness, after battling back problems, he addressed the media immediately in a highly emotional three-mintute address revealing his mother's illness.
He said Dening Day had been diagnosed in Australia at the start of this year and given just 12 months to live.
But after he flew her to the US for more tests last week the prognosis was a little more positive, and she is set to undergo surgery this Friday in his home city of Columbus, Ohio.
"She's going in for surgery this Friday, and it's really hard to even comprehend being on the golf course right now because of what she's gone through," Day said through a flood of tears.
"I'm glad I brought her over here. And it's been really hard to play golf lately.
"Emotionally it's been wearing on me for a while. And I know my mom says not to let it get to me, but it really has.
"So I just need some time away with her to make sure that everything goes well, because this has been very, very tough for me.
"So I'm going to do my best and try and be there the best I can for her, because she is the reason that I'm playing golf today.
"Family is first and it's just - it's just a hard time."
Day also lost his father, Alvyn, to stomach cancer when he was just 12, and Dening raised Jason and his older sister, Kim, on her own. His eldest sister Yanna had already left home.
He revealed his mother has a "3 or 4cm mass" on her lungs.
"It's been very, very emotional ... I've already gone through it once with my dad. And I know how it feels," Day said.
"So as of now I'm going to try to be back there with my mom for surgery and make sure everything goes right with her."
Day has played just five tournaments this year after spending the final three months of 2016 overcoming back issues which forced him out of the final two playoffs events.
He and his manager, Bud Martin, were noncommittal yesterday about when he would return to playing.
But Day has long expressed a desire to win a green jacket at Augusta, and for his mother to see him do it, and Martin said his client still "hoped" to play the tournament starting April 6.
After Day broke through for his first major win, the 2015 US PGA Championship, he made it clear the part his mother had played in his career.
"Without my mom's sacrifice, there is no doubt I would not have made it," Day said.
"Her and my sisters did so much for me so I could have the chance to succeed and I will forever be grateful.
"There is no telling where I would have ended up. Maybe jail. Maybe dead. But she made sure that wasn't my path."
The Masters begins on April 6.