Jason Day WD's from Arnold Palmer Invitational with back injury

ORLANDO FLORIDA- MARCH 07 Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain plays a shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard at the Bay Hill Club

Rory McIlroy said Wednesday achieving a career Grand Slam at the Masters next month would be "awesome" for golf as he warms up for Augusta at this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He had a pair of top-five finishes in his only two starts on the west coast and came into Bay Hill with a little bit of momentum.

He made a decision to put in a new 4-iron, which he used to hit his second shot into 18 feet for eagle on the par-5 sixth.

"I've had four weeks off at home putting some gas back in the tank", the Englishman said at the Orlando course on Wednesday.

A four-time US PGA Tour victor and two-time Australian Open champion, Baddeley is regarded as one of the tour's best putters but has struggled lately.

The 29-year-old has risen to world No.6, helped by a second placing behind No.1 Dustin Johnson at the recent WGC-Mexico Championship, and is adamant his 15th PGA Tour victory is close. So I feel the more you play it, probably the better.

Day, a victor at Bay Hill in 2016, had just pulled his second shot at the par-5 into the water when he told playing partners Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter he was heading back to the clubhouse.

"Walking to seventh tee I had a kid say to me, 'How's the water, Leishman?' That caught me off guard", said Leishman, who was then four over after six holes.

The world No. 34, a three-time victor on the European Tour, is seeking his first victory on the PGA Tour.

"Whether it was Mexico, Riviera or Torrey Pines, I left happy with where my game was even though I didn't win", McIlroy said. The top three players not already exempt from the top 10 at Bay Hill will get into Royal Portrush. "But, listen, I'm focusing really on the big picture right now. And it's hard enough going out there trying to get your golf ball around 18 holes here at this great golf course and just trying to stay in the moment".

Meanwhile, Aaron Baddeley is the only other Australian in the field at the prestigious Palmer invitational after 2016 champion Jason Day withdrew mid-round on Thursday with a back injury.

Justin Rose, who has a chance to return to No. 1 in the world this week, opened with a 71.

"I saw a physio here and tried to do as much work as I possibly could to get ready for this week".

Day told the PGA Tour that he had an MRI on Monday that revealed he has a tear in a disk in his lower back.



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