Jason Day has issued a friendly reminder to Adam Scott that the red-hot Masters champion isn’t the only Australian golfer eyeing Tiger Woods’ world No.1 ranking.
Setting the stage for an enthralling Australian Open at Royal Sydney, where the two big local hopes have been paired together in a marquee grouping on Thursday and Friday, Day on Tuesday spoke of his burning desire to reach the sport’s summit.
World No.11 Day is oozing confidence after taking individual honours at the World Cup of Golf at Royal Melbourne on Sunday and also winning the team event with world No.2 Scott.
Thet 26-year-old Day admitted he was already four years behind schedule in his plan to be regarded as the world’s best golfer.
The three-time major runner-up said he and his coach and caddy Col Swatton set a goal for Day to seize the top ranking by age 22 when he was just 12-years-old.
“We ended up getting to No.7 at 23, so we fell short,” Day said. “But it’s still on my mind to get to that No.1 spot.
“There’s are a lot of tough competitors that I have to get past but, if I keep working hard and putting the dedication and time into my game, I think the sky’s the limit as long as I stay hungry.”
So hungry is he that he barely celebrated his World Cup triumph on Sunday.
“I didn’t go out and drink. I didn’t do any of that stuff,” Day said.
“I had dinner with my family. I was in bed by 10. I had to wake up early the next morning to go to the gym so I was really trying to focus on preparing for this week.
“This week’s huge for me. I didn’t want to go out and waste a day on Monday after a big night.”
With Day’s grandmother, uncle and six cousins perishing in Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines before the World Cup, the Queenslander conceded he was a mental and physical wreck afterwards and didn’t even find time to reply to congratulatory text messages from Greg Norman and Shane Warne.
“It felt like a major playing last week,” Day said.
But he arrived in Sydney refreshed and ready to thwart Scott’s quest for Australian golf’s Triple Crown and match the Masters champion’s successful summer with his own winning double.
Snapping a three-year title drought since claiming his maiden title at the US PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship has given Day enormous belief.
“That first one sometimes can feel like a fluke,” he said.
“What I learnt last week, you can’t learn it any other way but to experience it.
“Hopefully I can take away what I learnt and bring it to this week and I’m really hungry to play well.”
In his only previous tilts at the Australian Open’s Stonehaven Cup, US-based Day finished equal 22nd as a 17-year-old in 2004 at The Australian, tied 51st in 2005 at Moonah Links and joint fourth in 2011 at The Lakes.
“It’s one of the tournaments that I’ve always wanted to win. It’s huge to an Australian,” he said.
“So many great names have been through and won the trophy and to one day hopefully put my name on the trophy would be an amazing honour.”