Jason Day checks the world rankings every Monday morning to see how he stands, most recently to observe how far he sits in front of the rest of the world's best. Today the Australian, who recently jumped back to the top spot, said he had a funny exchange with Greg Norman about the whole rankings thing.
"I'm at nine weeks (at No. 1) now,'' he said today as he prepared his return in New Orleans following a break after the Heritage tournament. "I just want to get to 10, and after that I want to get to 11 and after that I want to get to 12, and so on and so on. It would be great. I shared a text with Greg Norman earlier this year, and he said that he would love to see him pass him.
"I'm like 'ugh, that's 330 something weeks at No. 1'! That's a very dominant career in my mind, and if I have the opportunity to do that, I know that's going to take a lot of sacrifice and a lot of dedication to be able to do that. But it's great to be at the top of your game, at the top level, be No. 1, but more so be motivated than ever before to try and extend that lead.''
Day, who is teeing it up in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans where he is a tournament ambassador, has had two stints as No. 1 in the world over the past year, becoming just the third Australian, behind Norman and Adam Scott, to reach the pinnacle of the rankings. He said his challenge had changed since his elevation to No. 1. "Now that I'm No. 1, I have to change my mindset on trying to get there rather than I have to change my mindset to trying to extend that gap between 1 and 2. It all comes down to the same old things. What got me here was the hard work and the smart, consistent hard work that I put into my game, and the will to want to win more than I ever had before.
"So I have to take the same formula and try and put it into my game now since I'm the No. 1 player in the world and try and extend that gap, and that's my main focus is really trying to play as good as I can and win as much as I can to try and extend that lead.''
Day, who is set to represent Australia in the Olympic Games in August, refused to criticise the decision of his compatriot Adam Scott to decline the opportunity, pointing out that for golfers, the Olympics had not previously been on the radar.
"Let me put it this way: An Olympic athlete has put a lot of time and dedication into their sport to be able to go to the Olympics and try and win a gold medal, or any medal in their sport, and there's so much respect for that because of the amount of time and effort they've put into it.
"For golfers, it hasn't been in the Olympics for 112 years, so for us, what are the biggest tournaments that we play every year that most people look at are the majors, and your career is pretty much based on how many majors you win and how many tournaments you win. So you can't really get angry at golfers for trying to say that they're going to pull out of the Olympics because it's never been on our radar to ever win a gold medal because it hasn't been in the sport, so you just can't really get angry at guys for going in there and saying, 'I'm going to pull out'.''
Day has always been keen. "For me personally, I'm looking forward to the challenge of trying to win a medal. For me it would be really, really fantastic honor to be able to win a gold medal or any medal at the Olympics. I think this is a good platform to be able to grow the game in other countries where they don't have a big platform for golf, India, China, or — I mean, China is slowly but surely starting to pick up, although fans and a lot of golf is there — but it's important, I think, for the game of golf to be able to do this.
"But there's a lot of different views out there, especially with the Olympics, but — there's a few health problems, obviously, as well, so there's a few scares that everyone is obviously wary of — but to be able to go down there and try and win a gold medal and represent your country is a unique and massive honour for a person that is trying to represent their country.''