Fresh off his first PGA Tour victory in five years at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Jason Day has decided not to play a practice round ahead of the second men’s Major of the year in order to recharge his batteries.
The Australian has worked hard to rebuild his golf swing following a slump in form that saw him plummet down the world rankings, and arrives at the 2023 PGA Championship among the favourites to get his hands on the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday evening in New York.
But he’ll have to do it without ever having played Oak Hill’s East Course that has been compared to Winged Foot and Bethpage Black by some of the game’s biggest names. The 35-year-old admits “it sucks” he can’t prepare how he’d like to, but insists his best chance of adding to his lone Major title is if he’s mentally recovered from last week’s exploits.
“I haven’t played the course,” Day said. “Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the course. I most likely probably won’t see the course today. I’m just not fighting anything, I just want to make sure that I’m mentally prepared and mentally ready for tomorrow.
“If I come in tomorrow tired and exhausted, it won’t do me any favours, so I’m just going to try and take it easy. It’s not the first time I’ve come into the Major championship not playing a practice round.
“From what I understand and listening to the comments from the guys that have been talking about the golf course and everyone saying how difficult it is, that this style is going to be a lot more difficult than previous PGA Championships.
“It’s most likely going to be more of a [hit] to the centre of the green, putt to the pin locations, grab your birdies when you can, and then just kind of survive. That’s why it sucks to not be able to prepare the way I want to.”
While it might not be the ideal Major preparation, Day added that he was “very grateful” still to be able to play golf for a living after suffering with a debilitating back injury that nearly forced him to hang up his clubs. The Australian credits a chance meeting with Chris Como while Tiger Woods was struggling with the chipping yips for helping to resurrect his career, and has now set his sights set on reclaiming the World No. 1 spot.
“I would say, yeah, I do,” Day added, when asked if he felt validated for all the hard work he’s put in. “But once again, it would be nice to get another Major. It would be nice to get back to No. 1. So there’s things that are beyond that. It’s a good step in the right direction I would just say.”
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