Australian golf is in rude health.
Three of the past four PGA Tour events have been won by Aussies, with Jason Day following on from Adam Scott’s back-to-back triumphs with success at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Monday.
They are particularly encouraging results given golf’s showpiece occasion – The Masters at Augusta – is just around the corner.
And world No.2 Day might have a four-time Masters winner in his camp for the first major of 2016 if Tiger Woods, as expected, sits out.
The 40-year-old, a 14-time major winner, has not played since last August after undergoing back surgery, and it seems he’s now spending his time advising Day and practicing with him.
Sport at the top level is often about fine margins – and a helping hand from the biggest name in golf is clearly of benefit to Day.
“He sends (via text) the same stuff to me … ’just be yourself and stay in your world ’… and for some reason it just means so much more (coming from him),” Day said after his one-shot win at Bay Hill.
“It gives me so much confidence that a person like that would believe in me.
“I was idolising him ever since I was a kid and watching him in ’97 win The Masters for the first time, and all of a sudden I’m playing (on) the Tour and I’m pretty close with him now.
“He’s a big influence in my life … and to have his advice, to be able to see him and practice with him and pick his brain about numerous things that I want to try and improve my game … it’s been a big credit to him.”
Woods is no stranger to victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, winning it an incredible eight times.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially having watched Tiger do it a lot in the past,” Day said.
Despite Woods’ superb run at the event, he never won it while leading at the end of every round – something Day did in 2016.
“I can’t wait to text him,” Day responded after being told of the fact.
‘Patience and aggression’
While Woods’ feedback on Day’s actual stroke play is sure to have been valuable, it is his mental advice that the Aussie has responded best to.
A simple ‘patience and aggression’ mantra – and knowing when to use both – is something Day refers to regularly on the course.
“Patience and aggression is what he says … extend the lead by one, two shots every day,” he said.
“If it’s not going your way, suck it up and get it done.
“He really wants me to do well. (I think about the advice) a lot, actually. I’ve said patience and aggression so much this week.
“(It’s) kind of getting old and everyone wants to beat my head from saying it (so much).
“But sometimes that’s what you need to do to win golf tournaments.”
A nation hopes for more patience and aggression on the greens at Augusta National next month.