EDISON, New Jersey (Reuters) - Newly-crowned PGA Champion Jason Day sees the FedExCup playoffs as the opportunity for a challenge to world number one Jordan Spieth in the voting for the PGA Tour Player of the Year award.
Day is returning to competition at The Barclays this week at Plainfield Country Club after his breakthrough three-stroke success over Spieth at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
The 27-year old Australian plans to play all four FedExCup events and is hopeful, despite Spieth having captured two majors and two other PGA Tour titles this season, that winning the FedExCup could lift his own Player of the Year chances.
“The next four weeks starting this week here in New Jersey are very important and to be able to win the FedExCup would be the icing on my season,” Day told Reuters on Tuesday at Plainfield.
”If I could snag the FedExCup trophy to go with my PGA Championship victory I could go very close to being named Player of the Year.
“I know it’s going to be tough to unseat Jordan because he’s played such amazing golf this year but then if I were to capture the FedExCup, it puts my name in the mix for that award, and gives our peers voting on the award someone else’s name to think about.”
Spieth leads the FedExCup standings with Day in second, 1710 points behind the young American and the Australian said winning the PGA Championship’s Wanamaker Trophy for his maiden major only added to his motivation to win the playoff series and its $10 million bonus prize.
“If there is any extra inspiration I need to win the FedExCup then it’s been looking each day at the Wanamaker Trophy that’s sitting proudly upstairs back home in my office,” he said.
”I sat there one time last week just looking at it for I don’t know how long and just reading all the names on the trophy.
“Now having won one major, it would be nice to go on and win all four.”
Apart from hosting two corporate outings in Columbus, Ohio, the world number three has spent much of last week relaxing with his family and only arrived at the Plainfield course on Tuesday, where he was congratulated by his fellow competitors, officials, caddies and spectators.
“The reception since I arrived here at Plainfield has been simply amazing,” he said.
”What I really want to do is regain that momentum I had in winning the PGA Championship, so I want to keep that going all through all four FedExCup events.
“I’ve clearly come back to the Tour with a real spring in my step and I guess that’s what being a major champion is all about.”
Moments earlier, Day made the day for seven-year-old Andrew Smallwood, when he walked over to the side of the range and handed him a club.
“Here, this is for you and you can keep it,” said Day.
“It’s one of the wedges I used to win at Whistling Straits.”
Editing by Larry Fine and Greg Stutchbury