Date: March 15, 2018
Author: Martin Blake

Day begins run into Masters

Jason Day's two starts in this calendar year have brought a win at Torrey Pines and a runner-up finish but he has tested his form surge with a break of almost a month. The Australian resumes at the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando tonight with the Masters less than three weeks away.

Day, who is back in the world's top 10, said his more settled personal life was behind his resurgence in 2018 after a winless 2017.

"Usually when you look at people who are successful in any sport, their personal life is pretty balanced,'' he told the media today. "It's hard to play competitive golf because it's such a mental grind. it's hard to play competitive golf and focus on other things. You just can't do it, because the guys will eat you apart. The guys are so talented, if you're off a little bit, it not only hurts yourself and your confidence but it makes these guys so much better than you.''

Day said he continued to take advice from Tiger Woods, who will play alongside him in the first two rounds, starting at 11.23 (Australian eastern time) tonight, in particular relating to days when his game is not with him. 'He's like: 'You've got to find a way to get it in the hole'. I was like: 'Thanks, man!' He gives me this advice like it's easy. But it's not easy.

"In saying that, you definitely can feel it. I felt at the start of this year I was going to play well and I did, which was great. I've got to bear down right now and keep pushing and grinding because I don't want this to stop. I want to keep moving forward.''

There are a bunch of Australians in the field this week. Marc Leishman defends the title he won last year, setting him on his way to a career-best year. Cameron Smith defends his position in the top 50 on the world rankings, knowing that the cut-off point for invitations to the Masters is only days away.

Curtis Luck also has a start in the late Arnold Palmer's tournament, but Rod Pampling, the 2006 winner, was not invited, a fact he found "disappointing'' according to an Associated Press report in America. Before his death Palmer had a hands-on involvement in tournament invitations, and always made sure that past winners were on his list of exemptions.