x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

A new day is dawning for Jason Day

The nearly man of golf is in a great position to claim the US PGA title this weekend.

Jason Day claims not to be interested in either finance or fame, yet both have come this way in 2011.

All the talented 23-year-old Australian needs now is to add a major championship to his CV, and few have a better chance this week at the US PGA Championship in Atlanta.

Day has eight top-10 finishes in his last 16 starts, including second-place finishes at both the Masters and the US Open.

This year's Masters, where he finished joint second along with countryman Adam Scott, was only his third major, his first coming at the British Open at St Andrews 13 months ago. He was also runner-up to Rory McIlroy at Congressional, where he played the last 45 holes without a single bogey.

His eight-under finish there would have been good enough to win or earn a play-off in all but six US Opens since 1948.

Day was fourth last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and he is eager to take the next step and become golf's next new major winner.

"The biggest thing for me is not the money, not the fame, any of that stuff," Day said after his final practice round at Atlanta.

"I just want to win. I enjoy winning, I enjoy competing on the biggest stage against the biggest players in the world. I think that's fun, that's what gets me off compared to having a lot of money, having everything in the world.

"I don't care about any of that stuff. When I'm out here I want to best prepare myself for the week ahead. The biggest thing for me is preparation, the best I can prepare, the best chance I'm giving myself to actually win the tournament."

Day, ranked seventh in the world, is the first to acknowledge that he didn't always apply himself.

In 2008, his first year on the PGA tour, he was rarely seen on the driving range, and never on the putting green, because his ability was such that he believed he did not need to put the hours in.

But 15 missed cuts in 28 events gave this golfer a much-needed wake-up call .

"I gave myself a good talking to because I was playing lousy," Day said. "The work has paid off and I feel really comfortable when I get to the majors. I have played really great in the big events and that is down to some small improvements that have helped me make some big steps.

"What is missing is a win. I got close at Augusta, but Charl Schwartzel birdied the last four holes to beat me by two and there wasn't much I can do about that. But there is a major win in me and I believe it can happen soon."

ncameron@thenational.ae


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