As he continues to try and rediscover his once world-beating form, former world No.1 Jason Day is trying to stay present.
That means two things: focussing on the tournament at hand and not obsessing over the fact he is only eligible for the PGA Championship in terms of the three remaining Majors this year.
As the 2015 PGA champion, Day is exempt for the PGA at Southern Hills in Oklahoma later this month. The 34-year-old is not currently eligible for the US Open at The Country Club at Brookline or the Open Championship at St Andrews. Day is without a win in four years.
The 12-time PGA Tour winner confirmed he would not tee it up at 36-hole qualifying for the US Open, which will be held at two sites on May 23 and nine sites on June 6. One of those sites is Columbus, Ohio where Day lives.
“I’m not going to qualify; I’ve never really chosen to qualify and that’s my personal preference,” Day told Australian Golf Digest at TPC Potomac on Wednesday. “I want to earn my way into it, and I’m not saying qualifying isn’t earning your way, but I want to do it the long way. I’ve always been like that since I was a younger pro.”
The “long way” Day is referring to are exemption categories into the US Open such as being ranked within the top 60 golfers in the world on two deadlines – May 23 and June 6. He is currently ranked world No.127 and would need at least a victory between now and then to crack the world’s top 60.
Day has not attempted to qualify for the US Open since his debut at the event in 2011, when he finished second. He chose not to qualify for the US Open last year when in the same position.
The Queenslander has a few more options for the Open at St Andrews in July, where he finished tied fourth at the 2015 Open having missed the playoff to win the Claret Jug by one shot.
The top 50 on the world rankings on May 23 automatically qualify for the Open. The R&A also runs the Open Qualifying Series, a handful of global tournaments that give out a certain number of spots to the Open to those not already exempt.
The remaining PGA Tour events included in the Open qualifying series are the Canadian Open (two spots), John Deere Classic (three) and the co-sanctioned Scottish Open (three spots). One spot is also given to the opposite-field Barbasol Championship.
But Day isn’t thinking about any of that. His mind is on this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, being held at TPC Potomac in Maryland due to its usual venue, Quail Hollow, being prepared for September’s Presidents Cup.
Day has never played TPC Potomac but it taking confidence from a top 10 at the recent Zurich Classic of New Orleans, a teams event where he partnered with fellow Australian Jason Scrivener. He also tied for third at the Farmers Insurance Open Torrey Pines in January.
“Overall my game and where the swing’s at have been showing a lot of good signs,” Day said on Wednesday.
“I just have to be patient. My short game, putting and long game are starting to look better. I feel freer over putts and more athletic and creative.
“I haven’t focussed on the Majors this year; the goal is to get into them but staying present is the biggest goal.
“If I focus on playing well one tournament at a time, that will help my world ranking which ultimately gets me into the Majors.
“If I think about tournaments I’m not that takes mental energy away from what I need to do right now.”