Injured Gay making Humana defense

LA QUINTA, Calif. — Defending a title on the PGA TOUR is difficult enough. Brian Gay will have to do it this week with pain in his neck.

Gay said he felt a “crick” in his neck a couple days before leaving for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

“It’s lingered and lingered,” he said. “It’s been better some days, worse some others. However, I woke up today with a completely new issue on (the other) side and I couldn’t even turn my head. Hopefully that will go away quick. Yesterday I probably felt the best of any day, swinging the club pain-free. I woke up this morning and it was kind of a new spot and worse.”

Gay missed the cut in his first start of the 2013-14 season, at the Open, but has made six consecutive cuts, highlighted by a fourth-place finish at the McGladrey Classic. He finished 13th in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to start the calendar year, then finished 32nd at last week’s Sony Open in Hawaii.

Last year’s Humana Challenge was Gay’s fourth PGA TOUR victory, and first since 2009.

“The golf courses, they fit me good,” Gay said of the three sites in use this week. “They’re not overly long, there’s some of them you have to be pretty precise on. They’re narrow off the tee, so you have to be accurate. You have to make putts because you have to make a lot of birdies.

“And I think just waking up to that clear blue sky and sunshine every day just kind of energizes you around here.”

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