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Day gets little practice ahead of title defense

Jul 27, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; PGA golfer Jason Day hits balls on the driving range during a practice round for the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC - Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; PGA golfer Jason Day hits balls on the driving range during a practice round for the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC - Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

By Larry Fine

SPRINGFIELD, New Jersey (Reuters) - Jason Day's lead-up to his PGA Championship title defense has been far from ideal as a mix of untimely circumstances, including a late-night hospital visit with his wife, kept him from seeing the course until the eve of the year's final major.

Day, already fatigued after going right from the British Open into his title defense at last week's Canadian Open, has since caught a bug from his children and was up late on Tuesday in a hospital after his wife had an allergic reaction.

"With the limited practice and limited prep that I've had this week, I'm not coming into this week expecting a lot," the world number one said on Wednesday before heading out for his first look at the Baltusrol layout.

"I mean, obviously I'm expecting to win, but like I'm not really going, 'all right, you need to go out and force things straightaway."

Day admitted to feeling a little worn out by a tournament schedule that is more crowded than usual because of next month's Rio Olympics, which he has pulled out of, but was determined to gear up for a last chance at a 2016 major.

Still, he said the packed schedule has denied him the chance to prepare for a major in the manner he usually does.

"This week is in a different time slot," the 28-year-old Australian said of the championship usually contested in August. "But it's still the last major. It's our last shot at glory.

"So I need to come in and try to get a good, solid 18 holes in today so I kind of know where I'm going."

Day tried to take a crash course on the Baltusrol layout during the champions dinner he hosted on Tuesday where he spent about 30 minutes talking to the head pro about nearly every hole on the course.

Following the dinner, Day's wife had an allergic reaction and broke out in a severe rash that resulted in a call to the paramedics and a visit to the hospital that kept them there until 2 a.m. ET (0600 GMT) on Wednesday.

"She's fine now. We got a little bit of loss of sleep but we're fine," said Day.

Day can now put all his attention on defending a title he captured last year at Whistling Straits that ended years of close calls at the majors for the Australian and sparked a stunning run of form.

With less than 24 hours before opening his title defense at on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. alongside American Phil Michelson and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, Day was keen to get out and finally see the course.

"I haven't played a practice round," said Day. "I haven't seen the course. I don't know what it looks like."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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