“It’s really hard to even comprehend being on the golf course right now, because of what she’s gone through,” Day emotionally told reporters in Austin, after leaving his match against Pat Perez.
“It’s been very, very emotional, as you can tell. I’ve already gone through it once with my dad, and I know how it feels. And it’s hard enough to see another one go through it.”
Day’s father, Alvin, died of stomach cancer when he was 11. The future PGA Championship winner and his sister were raised in poverty in rural Australia by their mother until he was able to get into a golf academy, where he developed into a budding superstar.
The 29-year-old Day said his mother’s “diagnosis was much better” now that she is in the U.S., and he was “glad brought her over here.” He added, “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.”
Day told reporters that he was offering his comments because he didn’t want there to be speculation that his withdrawal Wednesday had anything to do with his own health, alluding to a brief back issue he had at last year’s Match Play. “Family first,” he said.
The surgery will be to remove a mass in his mother’s lungs of about three to four centimeters. “I’m hoping for a speedy recovery for her, and we can get this behind us and she can live a long life,” Day said.