LAKE FOREST, Illinois (Reuters) - The “last piece of the puzzle” finally clicked into place for Jason Day at the U.S. Open and, armed with greater self-belief in his own talent, he has since delivered the most successful season of his career.
During that three-month span, the Australian claimed his first major title at the PGA Championship and also won the Canadian Open and The Barclays, the first of the PGA Tour’s four lucrative FedExCup playoff events.
And Day is not done yet as he targets further success at this week’s BMW Championship and the season-ending Tour Championship that follows in Atlanta.
”This is a big two weeks for us,“ world number three Day told reporters on Tuesday while preparing for Thursday’s opening round at Conway Farms Golf Club. ”It’s kind of crunch time.
”Obviously to get off to a good start here would be great. I‘m pretty sure I‘m going to stay top five (in the FedExCup standings), so being able to stay at No. 1 would be good going into Atlanta for the Tour Championship, for the FedExCup.
“The only way I can do that is just go out and win. I’ve got another opportunity at maybe getting to No. 1 (in the world rankings). If I can pull that off, that would be fantastic.”
Day, who cruised to victory by a whopping six shots at The Barclays late last month, heads the FedExCup standings and would clinch playoff honors and the mind-boggling bonus of $10 million should he win the Sep. 24-27 Tour Championship.
“Winning takes care of everything,” smiled the 27-year-old Australian, who has triumphed a career-high four times on the U.S. circuit this season. “I just have to suck it up for the next two weeks, just go out and play as hard as I can.”
Long regarded as a future world number one, Day finally won his first major with a three-stroke victory over Jordan Spieth in last month’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, a breakthrough he felt owed much to his enhanced self-belief.
“I always thought that I had the skills to play and win at the highest level and be competitive, but the last piece of the puzzle was to really believe,” said Day.
”Something finally clicked ever since the U.S. Open championship (in June) ... that’s the mentality I have to get to all the time ... then I’ll be a lot more consistent, not only in my finishes but more consistent in my wins as well.
“It’s easy to say that you have a great swing and you’re one of the best players out here, but if you truly don’t believe in it, you’re never going to be.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue