AS Jason Day leads a nine strong Aussie contingent into the final major of the year this week at the Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey he faces the added pressure of being defending champion as well as having his world number one ranking on the line.
There is also the addition stress of knowing he hasn’t exactly been at the top of his game in recent appearances.
US Open winner Dustin Johnson is supposedly an odds on favourite according to some pundits this week and certainly seems to be in a rich vein of form.
Johnson will snatch the world number one mantle in Baltusrol if he wins and Day finishes worse than tied second.
There’s a second successful scenario for Johnson if he is solo second and Day (pictured above after his emotion charge win last year) can’t be 28th or better.
“It is added motivation for sure. Obviously I want to keep the world No.1 spot, but I can’t focus on it too much,” Day said this week.
“The biggest thing for me is to focus on what I need to do to play well.
“I can’t attach myself to the thought of keeping it, I have to focus on trying to prepare the best I can and execute and play well.”
After some indifferent form at the British Open and a less than stellar opening few days when defending his Canadian Open title last weekend the 28 year old Day was reasonable happy with his closing 67.
“It takes it out of you more when you’re playing terrible because you are thinking about it,” Day said.
“But I have been trying to rest and recover as best I can over the last two weeks and I know I’ll be fresh and ready to practice Tuesday and Wednesday.”
“I know it is going to be really hot so I need to slowly ease my way into it after the last two days in Canada were confidence building.”
The other Aussies lining up this week include Adam Scott, Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers, Marcus Fraser, Scott Hend, Matt Jones, Marc Leishman and John Senden.
Scott has been scheduled to tee off at 8.30am (local time)(10th tee) in the first round alongside Keegan Bradley and Jamie Donaldson whilst Day is in the following group alongside Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy.
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