Date: November 20, 2017
Author: Martin Blake

Day hits The Australian on Monday

Jason Day has arrived at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney to find pristine playing conditions as he ramps up his preparation for the Emirates Australian Open beginning on Thursday.

The former world No. 1, who is making his first appearance in his home national championship since 2013, has dipped to 12th in the world after a difficult year during which his mother, Dening, was ill.

He has not won a tournament since May, 2016. But his form at the tail-end of the 2016-17 season on the United States PGA Tour was strong, and he has said recently that he is hellbent on climbing back to a No. 1 world ranking.

“I know in my heart I will climb that mountain,’’ he told ABC Grandstand on the weekend. “It’s going to be a difficult one, but I’ve had a taste of it, and for me it was very stressful being No. 1 all, all the demands that came with that. I feel very motivated

Day, 30, played a few holes of practice at The Australian and chatted with other players, clearly relaxed and happy to be back in his home country to play.

He said over the weekend that the Stonehaven Cup, the Australian Open winner’s trophy, was “on my bucket list’’, having never won the trophy.

He will compete this week with a field that includes world No. 2 Jordan Spieth, already a two-time winner of the Open and the defending champion.

Most of the players in the field were filtering into the course today as the preparations begin for the storied tournament, previously won by all-time greats including Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Peter Thomson, Tom Watson, Bobby Locke and Gene Sarazen.

The Australian Open dates to 1904.