Jason Day found a birdie he would rather not have during a cruel round that left Australia’s former world number one playing catch-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
- Jason Day needed binoculars and a telephoto lens to find his ball, which was lodged in a bird’s nest up a tree
- Day was allowed to take a drop after his ball was deemed unplayable by tournament officials
- At the same tournament in 2013, Sergio García climbed a tree to play a shot
Starting on the 10th tee, Day needed binoculars to locate his ball in a bird’s nest up a tree en route to a double-bogey seven on the par-5 16th, usually the easiest hole at Bay Hill.
He also chalked up a double-bogey six on the par-4 18th after his approach shot was buried in a bunker, barely playable, and he knifed the ensuing sand shot through the green.
Day rebounded on his back nine, ultimately collecting five birdies in his even-par 72 to remain at two under for the tournament and seven shots adrift of halfway leader, Canadian Corey Conners.
The former US PGA champion could only see the funny side of the bizarre situation on the 16th, when his caddy found some binoculars to end a frantic search for his ball.
“I don’t know where he got the binoculars from,” Day said.
“But it was actually [taking] forever … we zoomed in on it and I’ve got the ball — well I don’t have the ball — but I could see the Tour B XS on the logo on the side and I’m like, ‘That’s it, that’s perfect.’
“It was literally in a nest, so I think the mama birdie’s going to come back and find another egg there.
“So it’s unfortunate but I’m glad we found it in the end.”
Day was not forced to climb up and retrieve his ball, but was allowed to take a drop for an unplayable lie, according to the PGA.
The Bay Hill course has something of a history with players interacting with trees.
In 2013, Sergio García climbed 4.5 metres up a tree on the 10th hole to play a ball out of a crevice that it had lodged into.
“I climbed to identify the ball and I saw I could hit it one handed,” Garcia said in a statement at the time.
“Luckily, it went OK.”
Not quite as OK as he hoped, with García, like Day eight years down the line, making a double-bogey on the hole.
In the end, the Spaniard chose to withdraw from the tournament shortly after with a shoulder injury he picked up while making the shot.
Despite his unfortunate start, Day fought back to not only make the cut but also remain in the top 21 entering the third round.