Jason Day tied for second place at the 2013 U.S. Open, and finished solo second place to Rory McIlroy at the 2011 U.S. Open. He has a strong record in major championships with six top-10s since 2010.
After winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play in February, Day went down with a thumb injury, which he has worked to rehabilitate over the last three months. At the pre-tournament press conference, Day said he is ready to play, “I’m a hundred percent healthy. I just want to get that out there. There [are] no issues with the thumb. There [are] no issues with any other part of my body that have been an issue in the past. Definitely looking forward to playing this week. I feel good about my game.”
At full-strength, Day will be able to focus on the greens at Pinehurst No. 2, “The turtle back greens are obviously difficult. I mean it can be very frustrating to play these greens because you can go from one side of the green to the other side pretty quick. You can rack up a big number very fast. I think the frustrating thing about it is that even if you do leave yourself in a pretty easy spot to get up-and-down, it’s still difficult, because the grass is different from the normal grass that you kind of get at normal U.S. Opens that we play. Merion was kind of bent grass that we play. Congressional, kind of bent grass. The easier — it’s easier ground to chip off.”
Day will be testing a variety of shots from the run-off areas, “Whereas in this kind of grass, you get the turtle back greens, the water runs off the greens and pushes the grass down. So every chip shot you have is back into the grain. You try and chip with a sixty, back into the grain, I’m going to say a good amount of those chips you probably are going to catch them a little fat. So then that brings in a lot of imagination, what do you hit? Should I bump and run a 4-iron? Should I bump and run a 7-iron? Am I going to use a three wood or four wood, whatever you have? Am I going to use a putter?”
Once Day figures out his short-game strategy, he may put himself in contention at the U.S. Open, “I’ve been close in a few majors now. So close that you can almost taste it. It’s disappointing and encouraging at the same time. It really is all how you look at things. I can stew on it and say, you know, I kind have blown a few, blown a major or two or I had a real opportunity to win and I just didn’t quite get there. But I look at it as experience. I feel like I’ll get there one day. I just have to keep giving myself the opportunities. If I can put myself there more and more and more, it’s bound to happen.”
–Bernie D’Amato (@bdamato711)