Former world No.1 Jason Day has ruled out the possibility of qualifying for the US Open at Torrey Pines next month, instead insisting that he will play his way in via the world rankings or miss it completely.
Returning to the AT&T Byron Nelson this week, a tournament he won in 2010, Day currently sits 62nd in the Official World Golf Ranking, outside the top 60 who automatically qualify for the year’s third Major.
To secure a spot at Torrey Pines – where he won the Callaway World Junior title and has twice won the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open – Day needs to be ranked inside the top 60 either after May 24 (after next week’s PGA Championship) or June 7 (after the Memorial Tournament).
Sectional Qualifying takes place after the Memorial but having already scheduled a corporate outing with sponsor NetJets the Monday after Memorial, the 33-year-old confirmed he won’t attend qualifying and faces the prospect of missing his first Major since the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach.
“I haven’t even thought about missing a Major championship in a very long time,” Day conceded.
“I’m obviously on the border of missing that. I’ve got to play good the next two weeks.
“To be honest, if I don’t get in, I’m not qualifying. I’ve got a scheduled event for NetJets that I’ve got on Monday after the Memorial, so I’m planning on doing that instead of going to qualify.”
Complicating matters further is the imminent arrival of Day’s fourth child, wife Ellie reaching full term this Friday and her husband waiting for the phone call that will take him away from whichever tournament he is playing and whatever position he may be in on the leaderboard.
“If I’m playing golf, whatever, it doesn’t matter. I just want to make sure that I see the birth of our fourth child,” said Day, who is drawn to play with Charles Howell III and Patton Kizzire the first two rounds this week starting at 4:06am AEST tomorrow.
“I could get a call in the next four weeks or whenever, this week, next week, and I could be on a plane going home.
“If it happens to be on Sunday at a Major championship where I’m in contention, it happens. You’ve got to do it.
“I’m not going to miss it because I’m in contention. It would be nice to win a golf tournament, but family is a forever. You’ve got to be very careful of that.
“Right now I don’t have anything distracting me other than the potential of a child coming in the next four weeks.
“Other than that, I’m just all golf. That’s all I am. Very motivated right now.”
Apart from a week at No.63 midway through last year, the last time Day was so far down the world ranking was in August 2010, reaching the game’s pinnacle of world No.1 in September 2015 after an extraordinary run of four wins in six starts, including the PGA Championship.
He has been working diligently on building a swing that his troublesome body can sustain with Chris Como and Jason Goldsmith since late last year and although he has just one top-10 finish to his name in 2021 is growing in confidence that better results are close.
“I feel really good about my game,” Day said.
“I know I’ve got to keep persisting. If I don’t do it, it’s not going to be enjoyable for me. If it’s not enjoyable for me, I may as well retire.
“I can’t play the way that I’m doing and beat my head against a wall essentially.
“But, then on the other hand I’m like, No, you can’t quit. You’ve got to keep pushing, stay persistent, stay positive, patient, keep moving forward, and it’ll come back.
“So right now I’m trying to do that.
“It’s interesting to be in this situation. To be honest, I’m totally content where I am right now in regards… I’m here for a reason. What do I need to do to get out of it and push forward and get my ranking back where it needs to be?
“How do you get out of this position and try and come up with a plan?
“Because if you don’t come up with a plan to get out of this situation, I will just be walking around in circles.”