Date: November 08, 2011
Author: Steve Orme

Day’s dream group with Tiger

Australia&aposs highest ranked golfer Jason Day said the chance to play alongside Tiger Woods in the opening two rounds of the Emirates Australian Open is a dream come true. The world No.7 has never played alongside his childhood hero but will finally get his chance after being placed in the marquee group along with Robert Allenby. The trio will tee off at 12.10pm local time on Thursday ahead of Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott and John Senden, with Stuart Appleby, Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley to start at 12.20pm. Geoff Ogilvy will begin his title defence at 7.15am alongside Americans Bill Haas and Bubba Watson. Dustin Johnson, Greg Norman and Aaron Baddeley and veterans Fred Couples, John Cook and Peter Senior are the other feature groups in the morning wave. “Obviously it&aposs going to be great to play with Tiger,” Day said on Tuesday. “I think his game is finally heading in the right direction, it&aposs hard to get momentum when you&aposre not playing so much, but it&aposll be pretty fun.” “Obviously with how everything panned out in the past it&aposll be finally good to come back and play as a professional in front of an Australian crowd with Tiger Woods.” Day said Woods&apos aura has dimmed slightly over the past two years after falling to No.56 in the world rankings. But the Queenslander says the 35-year-old changed the way golf is played and still has the ability to intimidate his rivals. “I&aposm sure it (Woods&apos aura) was stronger going back a few years but Tiger&aposs Tiger,” Day said. “He can still hit those shots that not many people can and he still brings a lot of crowds to golf tournaments and it&aposs obviously good to have him here.” “I think he&aposs lost it (the intimidation factor) a little bit but when he&aposs on a roll like he was at the Masters on the front nine, people knew where the roars were coming from and who was playing good.” Meanwhile, Day says he&aposs flattered by Greg Norman&aposs high praise after the Shark declared the 23-year-old has all the ingredients to be a future world No.1. “Obviously coming from a former world No.1 and how much Greg dominated in the past … coming from him it&aposs a great honour for me to actually be used in that sentence,” Day said. “I thank Greg for the comments but I&aposve just got to go out there and do what I need to do.” “It&aposs always been my goal to get to No.1 … it&aposs my fourth year out on the PGA Tour and I&aposve got to No.7 in the world but it&aposs only going to get tougher because there&aposs six other guys in front of me that are playing great right now.” After a seven-week break from competitive golf, a &aposrusty&apos Day is cautiously optimistic about his chances of lifting the Stonehaven Cup. “It&aposs a pretty strong field … it feels like a very strong PGA Tour field with the amount of international players that are over here,” he said. “Obviously it&aposd be good to win but right now all I can do is control what I can control.” “I&aposm a little rusty and I just need to get out there and get my feet wet and get into it.” Meanwhile, Peter Lonard, Nathan Green and Stephen Dartnall have all been forced to withdraw from the tournament in order to contest the second stage of PGA Tour qualifying school.