Jason Day’s got that look again.
All the best players at the top of their games, in contention for another win, have the look of raptors. They are on the hunt with a singular focus and purpose, and they will not be stopped.
Day comes to the Open at Shinnecock Hills with the look he had in 2015-16 when he won eight tournaments over the course of 15 months, ascended to No. 1 in the world and had those eagle eyes.
He’s won twice this season, and his victory at the Farmers in San Diego in January was his first in 19 months following difficult family circumstances in 2017 with his mother coping with lung cancer and his wife suffering a miscarriage. He had to look inward at his family, not outward to the game.
But with mother and wife recovering, Day is able to again adopt the mindset that got him to No. 1 and to assume the look of a champion.
“I think if I want to be the best player in the world, I’ll be the best player in the world,” Day said Tuesday with an honesty that doesn’t betray a scintilla of arrogance. “And that’s more the mindset that I have to take. If I want to put my mind to something, I know that there’s pretty much nothing people can do about it. Because if I put my mind to it, it’s going to happen.”
Putting his mind to it means, by his definition, being selfish. His world orbits around golf, and to be his best, he has to be selfishly devoted to it.
“Everything you do is around golf or around being the best, and that’s what you do sleeping, that’s what you do eating, that’s what you do when you’re sitting there and you’re playing with your kids. It’s very hard to switch it off,” Day said. “You’re playing with your kids, but you’re thinking about golf. So everything you do is you’re thinking about golf constantly and the will to try to get better and be the best. And I enjoy that process, and that’s where I’m at right now.”
Where he’s at right now is No. 8 in the world rankings following another victory this season at the Wells Fargo in May. The 2015 PGA champion has another major in his sights, and the Open is a tournament he’s performed well in with two second-place finishes and three other top-10s.
“When it comes to the U.S. Open, it tests every part of your game and the mental side, as well,” Day said. “I like the stressful part of trying to win a tournament, and I like the stressful part about playing a tough tournament in front of a lot of people and trying to win a major.”
He’s at a very good spot in his professional and personal life.
“I feel like I’ve got a good balance right now,” Day said. “There’s no stress in my life, and all I can do is go out and play good golf.”