Date: November 29, 2013
Author: John Huggan at Royal Sydney Golf Club

There’s always tomorrow for Day

It was the late British Prime Minister Harold Wilson who first opined that, a week is a long time in politics”. If so and by that measure, golf is even more unpredictable than the often-mystifying parliamentary doings of democratically elected representatives. A mere five days after winning the individual title at the World Cup of Golf (and the team event alongside compatriot Adam Scott), Jason Day finds himself as many as 13 shots off the Masters champion s lead after only 36-holes of this Australian Open at Royal Sydney. Indeed, Day s second round of 74, two over par, following an opening 70, was no better than he deserved. His was an abject performance from one so obviously gifted. Where last week at Royal Melbourne his ball striking bordered on imperious and his putting was never less than sure, here in Sydney both aspects of Day s game have fallen far short of expectations. Little wonder then that the 26-year old Ohio-based Queenslander was a forlorn-looking figure long before the end of 18-holes that contained as many as three bogeys and only one birdie. Still, in the immediate aftermath of such a disappointing time on the links, Day, who was felling a niggling back strain, remained hopeful of better things to come. That was a bit of struggle, he admitted. I just didn t have my best stuff out there. It’s a tough course and I was definitely feeling a little flat out there after last week. The World Cup was only my second win, so I m still learning how to handle the aftermath and how my body is going to react. In retrospect, I d have been better off not playing 18-holes here on Tuesday. With the pro-am on Wednesday, that s going to be six rounds in as many days. Which is a lot. So I maybe should have rested. Day also expressed some concern for his playing companion, Kevin Streelman, who had earlier been forced to pull out of the championship because of an eye infection. I felt for Kevin, said Day. He was basically trying to play with one eye out there. But he had to think about the long-term. If the infection had got worse, it could affect him for a while. He was disappointed not to finish, but he did the right thing. As for my back, it did feel a little tight out there. I m not able to hit the ball as hard as I did last week. If I do I know it s going to hurt. So my shots are not going as far as they would normally. Which means I have to hit longer clubs into the greens. I ve missed a few too many and that puts a lot of pressure on your short game and putting. It’s no coincidence that I didn t make a birdie until the 15th hole today. My body doesn’t react too well when the temperature drops to a certain point. I won t be moving to Scotland any time soon, put it that way. But that is no excuse. I am a little bit tired, but I just haven t played well enough to get into contention. As is always the case in any top-class field, Day wasn t the only luminary to struggle in the damp and breezy conditions. Quite apart from the unfortunate withdrawal of Streelman, 2003 US Open runner-up Stephen Leaney, former Aussie Open champions Greg Chalmers, Craig Parry and Peter Fowler, defending champion Peter Senior and Jin Jeong, recent winner of the Perth International, all failed to make it through to the weekend. That s another thing about golf. The game has no respect for reputations. Mister Wilson, a socialist, would surely approve.