15 Mar 2017
Jason Day enjoys a joke during the build-up to his Arnold Palmer Invitational title defence. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Australian Jason Day will carry a moving memory into this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.
As the US PGA Tour field gathers at Bay Hill for the first time since the legendary Palmer's death, Day will have special memories to fuel his title defence.
The Queenslander took his special slice of golfing history with a one-shot victory last March, becoming the last winner to enjoy the customary drink with seven-time major champion Palmer, who died of heart complications aged 87 in September.
"I think it's going to be very emotional; it's just not going to be the same without the `King'," Day said today.
"It's very humbling to know I had that last celebratory drink with him as a tournament winner, which is never going to happen again.
"It's a special memory I'll always have with me."
Day arrives at Bay Hill having overcome both an ear infection and flu that forced the 27-year-old's withdrawal from the World Golf Championships event in Mexico City two weeks ago.
It added to the world No.2's recent health concerns, having spent the last three months of 2016 recovering from a lower back injury.
But three weeks out from the Masters, Day says his body has returned to 100 per cent.
"The body feels good in general. Obviously a rest was what I needed and I feel like I'm swinging it pretty good, so we'll see how it goes this week," he said.
"I'm here to compete and win at Bay Hill this week, but I know I'll be prepared and ready for Augusta when it comes around."
Other Australians in this week's field include Day, young stars Ryan Ruffels and amateur Curtis Luck, 2006 Bay Hill champion Rod Pampling, Greg Chalmers, Steven Bowditch, Aaron Baddeley and Cameron Smith.