Sick of playing the blame game, Jason Day has credited a positive mindset and an improved putting performance for logging just his second top-10 finish in more than 12 months at the Workday Charity Open in Ohio.
After dropping a shot at the second hole of his final round Day rattled off three straight birdies to right the ship, adding three more birdies in a 5-under 67 that lifted him into a tie for seventh, eight shots back of playoff combatants Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas.
Morikawa claimed his second PGA Tour title at the second playoff hole after the pair drained monster putts on their first trip down Muirfield Village’s 18th hole but Day showed that his upward trajectory is well timed ahead of golf’s biggest events of a shortened 2020 season.
The Tour stays at Muirfield Village this week for the Memorial Tournament and then two weeks later the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational precedes the US PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
Despite a top-five finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, Day went into the Workday Charity Open ranked No.63 in the world but believes a change in mindset will deliver stronger results in the near future.
“It’s funny, when you’re going through a bit of a rough patch, you start to blame other things other than yourself,” Day said after climbing 12 spots on the leaderboard on Sunday.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to have a hard look at yourself and understand the attitude isn’t helping the game out at all. So you may as well just try and fix that, and that’s obviously the first thing that you try and do. The attitude was a lot better.
“I felt like I was just trying to play the victim role a little bit too much, especially because I haven’t played that great coming back after the break and then a bunch of missed cuts, and my body is sore.
“I just don’t want to play that role. I want to take it for what it is and just get on with it.”
Regarded as one of the best putters on the planet when he rose to No.1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Day’s flatstick fragilities have contributed to his fall out of the top 50.
Ranked 111th in Strokes Gained: Putting at the start of the week, Day delivered his best putting performance of the season and was finally rewarded for months of hard work.
“I’m the most excited I have been in a long time with my putting,” said Day.
“Usually I’ve been in the top 10 putting every year, and this year I’ve been 171st. When there’s that big of a margin between where you usually are, there’s a lot of opportunities that are missed.
“Today was a nice indication of where my putting is actually starting to progress into.
“I’ve been working very, very hard. I’ve been trying to bust my butt over the last two months to try and get ready for this.”
Matt Jones climbed 15 spots in the FedEx Cup with a tie for 14th with Kiwi Tim Wilkinson the only other Australasian player to qualify for all four rounds, finishing tied for 31st.