Date: May 12, 2016
Author: Martin Blake

Day seeks his mojo at Sawgrass

Jason Day returns to tournament golf this week along with six other Australians at the Players Championship at Sawgrass in Florida.

"It's a golf tournament that you really do want to win and have it on your resume at the end of your career because it's such a huge event," said Day, the world No. 1 this week.

"This is one of those tournaments where, if you're on the border of getting into the Hall of Fame, this could kick it over and get you into the Hall of Fame."

The Queenslander has had a checquered history at Sawgrass, with a best of tied-sixth in 2011.

His booming drives are not necessarily the ticket on the dog-legged fairways of the Stadium Course, famous for its island green at the par-three 17th hole, one of the most photographed holes in all of golf.

A total of 45 balls found the water at the 17th during the tournament last year, and tens of thousands over the course of the calendar year. Aussie Marc Leishman, who is also in the field, has played the 17th 20 times without ever finding the drink.  “I wouldn’t say I’m amazed,” Leishman told this week. “Most of the time, I’m hitting pitching wedge or sand wedge in there. With a pitching wedge or sand wedge, you should be able to find the green. But the pressure’s obviously there, although I’ve never been there at the end of the tournament with a chance to win. There’s a little more pressure then.”

Victorian Aaron Baddeley, who has found his way into the field as an alternate, has not been so lucky at the 17th, finding the water 13 times in his 34 previous visits, although he is far from the worst. Bob Tway, the American, once had a 12 at the hole with four shots finding the water.

The other Australians teeing it up this week are Adam Scott, John Senden, Matt Jones and Steven Bowditch.

Rickie Fowler is the defending champion for the $US10.5 million event, sometimes called 'the fifth major'.