Jason Day is on a mission to redeem himself at the Presidents Cup in New Jersey this week after blaming himself for the International team's defeat in South Korea two years ago.
Day had a poor week in 2015, coming into the event ranked No. 1 in the world but collecting just 0.5 points in his five matches in a match won by the USA by a single point, 15 1/2 to 14 1/2. The Australian admitted he was tired at the time, but made no excuses.
"I let the team down two years ago in Korea,'' a blunt Day told the media at Liberty National today as the players gathered for the 2017 teams event between the United States and Nick Price's Internationals. "I didn't have a good Presidents Cup and it was close. If I actually played well, we probably would have had a good shot at winning. Unfortunately I take the blame for that. I didn't play good. I was ranked No. 1 on the team for a reason, and I didn't show up.
"So that was my fault and I felt like I let the guys down, a lot, two years ago. I'm hoping that I can redeem myself this week. It would be nice to be able to get more than the points that I got back in 2015. I'm just trying to do the best job I can to prep for this week.''
The International team is heavy underdog for this week's event having won just one of 11 Presidents Cup contests since the event was inaugurate in 1994. The American team's lowest-ranked player is Phil Mickelson at No. 30, and generally American depth has prevailed in the cup.
But Day said he saw advantages in flying under the radar. "That's the biggest thing for us is that, you know what, I said it morning, on paper, we are not the best team. The Americans are. I don't know what the last guy is in the world ranking on the American side, but they are very accomplished.
"I said this morning, I don't think we've got a lot of pressure because I think a lot of people are kind of writing us off already, and we're all solid players. On our weeks, we can beat anyone, and that goes throughout the whole team here. So I think if we can get off to a great start with the alternate-shot; the alternate-shot has always killed us in the past.''
The International team includes three Australians — Day, cup veteran Adam Scott and Marc Leishman. Scott has never played on a winning team despite debuting as far back as 2003, while Leishman beat Jordan Spieth in singles in Korea at the last event, a portent of what was to come for him, making a two-metre putt at the last to win. "I remember all the boys standing over there on the edge of the green,'' said the Victorian. "That was a pretty good feeling. The cup was on the line. That was a big high, certainly one I'll never forget.
Day and Leishman are likely to play together as a pair when the matches start on Thursday, going by the practice groupings.
As for Scott, he is taking a leadership position, and "feeding off'' the youth in the team. "I really feel that the International team is starting to have a little Presidents Cup family,'' he said. "I know the American guys, they play under the one flag and they play Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups, probably a little easier to feel that kind of bond, but it's getting to that point now where I think when you listen to how Nick feels about it, how much time he's invested in it with the support of the team and also myself playing a lot of times and being back around this year, it means a lot to the team. We're starting to get that feeling like there's some history there with it, which is important.''
The event begins with five foursomes matches on Thursday (Friday morning AEST).