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PGA Champion Day, age 28, is feeling old

By Carl Steward
Published on

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Jason Day often gets lumped in with golf's new wave of young stars that includes Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, but Australia's top player and third-ranked golfer worldwide doesn't feel like he's part of the boys club.

While not that far apart in age -- Day just turned 28 in November, while Fowler is 27, McIlroy 26 and Spieth 22 -- he sees a major difference. They're all still single, and he's a married man with two children.

Compounding that, Day has been playing his practice rounds with a pair of young and single Australian phenoms, 22-year-old Cameron Smith and 17-year-old Ryan Ruffels, both of whom are entered in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am starting Thursday.

"I don't feel that old, but when I talk to these kids, I do feel old," Day said. "Because I'm talking about taxes and all this other stuff that is very, very boring. And these guys are talking about music, and I'm like, 'Oh, I remember those days.' "

Day had his best year as a professional last year and was second to Spieth in terms of accomplishments. He won five tournaments, including his first major title at the PGA Championship, finished in the top 10 in 11 of the 20 tournaments he entered and earned $9.4 million.

But he's behind schedule as he tries to jump-start his 2016 season. Day took three months off after recording two follow-up FedEx Cup wins to the PGA -- the Barclays and BMW Championship, which resulted in a brief ascent to No. 1 in the world -- to be with his family and see the birth of his second child, daughter Lucy.

He had a decent outing in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in early January, finishing in a tie for 10th that briefly elevated him to No. 2. But he contracted a nasty viral infection before the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago that landed him flat on his back for four days, including two visits to the hospital. Somehow, he played in the tournament because he was the defending champion, but he missed the cut.

"It was a pretty bad bug," he said. "The week prior I played pretty good, but I didn't hit a ball for five days. That's difficult, but I'm definitely feeling a lot better. I don't think there's any health issues now."

--With six of the world's top 10 players entered in the AT&T, defending champion Brandt Snedeker has been pushed off the marquee a bit. But Snedeker has won two of the last three events here and has been playing well -- he won the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago at San Diego's Torrey Pines Golf Club.

Snedeker, 35 and ranked 14th in the world, made one bogey through four rounds last year in setting the tournament scoring record at 22-under-par 265.

"I'm excited to get after it, because I'm playing great and putting great and it should be fun to go out there and see if I can't get it done again," Snedeker said.

--After two teams halved all five holes of the 3M Celebrity Challenge on Wednesday, saxophonist Kenny G punched a shot to within two inches on the 18th green to win the chip-off that earned a $100,000 split between two designated charities, Food On Foot and OK Kids Korral.

Kenny G and country singer Toby Keith made up one of three teams competing under comedian Bill Murray's banner. Others competing for Murray's team included singers Huey Lewis and Clay Walker and actor Josh Duhamel. Actor/director Clint Eastwood helmed three twosomes that included actors Alfonso Ribeiro and Ray Romano, comedian Gary Mule Deer, singer Colt Ford and comedian Larry the Cable Guy.

--Japanese standout Ryo Ishikawa and American Matt Every were late withdrawals and were replaced by alternates Ted Purdy and Greg Chalmers.

This article was written by Carl Steward from The Oakland Tribune and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.