Balloons? Really?

Masters 2019: The routine Jason Day goes through to get his back ready to play golf is officially insane

April 12, 2019
Jason Day
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesJason Day waits on the 15th green during the first round of the 2019 Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Admit it, you wrote off Jason Day from this year’s Masters after just two holes on Thursday. It’s OK. We won’t hold it against you. He won’t hold it against you. Not when you saw this image on your television screen.

After getting treatment for his bad back on the course—he aggravated the L4-L5 discs that were injured about a month ago when he bent over to kiss his daughter before teeing off—Day somehow scraped his way around Augusta National Golf Club, posting a two-under 70 on Thursday. Yet after the round, his agent left the chances of him playing Friday as only 60-40.

The 60 won, and then Day shot a 67 to grab a share of the 36-hole lead at seven-under 137. Pretty impressive stuff, huh?

What makes the whole thing exponentially more impressive is what Day had to do in the morning to get himself into shape to play golf. Or should we say what he has to do every morning (and evening) to get himself into shape to just go about his day. After his Friday round, the 31-year-old Aussie explained to the media the routine he is employing of late so that he can simply function. Jumping jacks it ain’t.

“This is going to sound really weird; I have to get my ribcage back in position. So my ribcage is out of position, so you have your pelvic floor, your ribcage, and the bottom of your mouth. This is my trainer talking, not me. This comes straight from him.

So my ribcage—when my back was sore last week, my ribcage was out, and I was kind of aligned—my left shoulder was high, I think it was, and if you look at the back line of where my pants are on the back, you could see that my hips were kind of shifted and tilted.

I blow into balloons in certain positions to try and get my ribcage down, but then also I try and—I’ve got these other exercises that are trying to get space in the joint with regards to my hips and my back and my shoulders, and that takes 20 or 30 minutes in the morning and 20 or 30 minutes at night.

David Cannon

Day reacts to his second shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the 2019 Masters.

To Day’s credit, he finds humor in the whole ordeal, particularly when it comes to using the balloon. We'll let him explain once again:

“Trying to get your ribcage down and blow into a balloon, this is very new to me, actually. It sounds very insane when you’re sitting there. I flew down to Florida this last week, and I met my trainer, and we're in the pilot's lounge of this FBO, and there's two pilots, you know, sitting next to me—or I’m laying on the ground and they are sitting there, and I’m blowing these balloons up. And as you let the balloons go, it sounds like you've let one go, right? So every 30 seconds, I would be letting the balloons out, and these guys are looking at me very strange.

They understood what’s going on, but it’s not your usual what you see—and Kevin Duffy, my trainer, can obviously explain a lot more, but this is kind of new to me.

I’m just doing whatever I can to feel good. So if blowing in balloons is what I need to do to feel good, then I will do it all day long.”

The man is leading the Masters after 36 holes. How can you disagree?

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