Date: May 18, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Day’s dominance driving force for Spieth

So how much is Jason Day's recent dominance getting to those chasing his No.1 mantle?

A fair bit, if Jordan Spieth's press conference before the Byron Nelson Classic today is anything to go by.

Day and Spieth went head to head in the first two rounds of The Players Championship last week, with the Australian leaving his good mate in the Florida dust, 14 strokes better after two rounds with the Texan one shot on the wrong side of the cut.

And when Day saluted two days later for his third US PGA Tour title of the year and seventh in his past 17 starts, his lead at the top of the world rankings stretched to almost 2.5 points — easily the biggest gap of the 12 weeks he has spent atop the pile.

Safe to say, it's a trend Spieth hopes to reverse this week in his home state.

"There's some motivation there. He's playing his game. He believes his game is better than anybody else's, and he's on his game and so it is better than everybody else's," Spieth said today.

"What he's doing right now, I think I can win the next two events and I'm still not going to surpass him in the world rankings. He's separated himself, and that bothers me and it motivates me."

Spieth let a second Masters green jacket slip last month and, after a month away from competition, returned only to be flummoxed by the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

He spoke after his second round of a need to "lower expectations" and return to having more fun on the course.

"I need to really focus on that, on staying on the positive because I can hit either extreme this week, trying so hard to play so well in front of so many friends and family," Spieth said.

"If I can engage with my friends and family maybe, and kind of smile more, you know, it's only going to help me on the course if I'm approaching it like it's just another round with friends."

But the world No.2 reinforced he won't abandon the heart-on-his-sleeve attitude with which he reacts to shots.

"When I say get back to having fun, I mean it's not like I'm still not going to get frustrated with myself because that's healthy, you should," he said.

"If you don't execute a shot that you feel that wasn't that hard to execute, there should be some frustration, but no lingering or negative talk is really what I'm talking about – just eliminating that."