It goes without saying that former world No. 1 Jason Day has struggled in 2017, going winless with just two Top 10s.
During a Wednesday press conference at Quail Hollow, in advance of the 2017 PGA Championship, the winner of the 2015 Wannamaker Trophy opened up about his “very poor season,” while saying he’s “motivated” and “hungry” to get back to the top of the golf world.
In addition to the video, here’s a transcript of the five best topics Jason Day touched on with the press.
HIS CURRENT GAME
“Yeah, you know, I feel — coming off last week, I think I started driving it — I didn’t drive it as straight as I’d hoped to do, but I feel like my speed is coming back. I feel like I’m starting to get back to the length that I had in 2015, which is great. I feel like that explosive power is coming back, which gives me confidence.
Explaining this last week, I haven’t had the great putting years that I’ve had, like I did over the past two seasons. When you don’t have — if one of your strengths is putting, which it is for me, I rely heavily on that confidence-wise, knowing that, okay, well, even if I don’t play well, I’m going to get up-and-down and I’m going to shoot a decent score. Because my game may not be great one day, and I can save myself with the putting and chipping.
Unfortunately, this year, my short game has been pretty poor. My putting has been the same and that’s kind of added a little bit more pressure on the rest of my game. Trying to hit greens and trying to hit fairways, there’s been a lot more pressure because of — because I’m putting poorly.
So I’ve been working very, very hard, trying to stay very disciplined with trying to stick to the process of getting better with my putting again and all throughout the whole game.
But I’m looking forward to this week because I feel like I’m starting to turn the corner with regards to this plateau, and hopefully from there, I have a good finish. Because really, this has been a very, very poor year for me. So hopefully, yeah, I can turn it around and start playing some good golf here.”
LOSING NO. 1 STATUS
“It annoys and motivates me at the same time to be honest. Because I know how good I can be, because I have got to No. 1 in the world.
But I think through the latter part of last year, I got a little bit burnt out. I was trying to do too many things, and my mind got a little bit away from what really made me, you know, good to get to No. 1 and how much I practiced. I just solely focused on playing golf.
Then you add being No. 1 in the world and then there’s a lot more time taken away from you. So with that being said, I think I would definitely handle it differently once I get back there.
Right now, I’m just trying to get — it is frustrating to me because I’m sitting there and I’m like, my game is not where it should be. I’m not doing the right things on the course. I really haven’t had the greatest year. You’re not panicking or anything, you’re just wondering why. You’re up at night thinking about, okay, what do I need to do to get back to that winning form.
I think once I minimize the distractions that I’ve had in my life and can focus more on just playing golf and focus, and single-focus on golf, then everything will take care of itself.”
“Yeah, he shot 61 last week. It’s funny, because you see him, he wants it, because he’s on the range every single night beating balls. He’s putting. He’s practically the last guy there every single day.
When I see that — he’s very quiet. Obviously the language barrier is tough. But he wants it. You can see it in what he’s doing and how he’s practicing and how many people are there watching him practice that it’s going to happen sooner or later.
With how he’s played this year, three wins, coming off great form from last week, this course sets up perfect for him, especially his ball-striking. His improvement in putting has been off the charts. It’s a good formula for him this week to grab his first major.”
POTENTIAL FOR LATE-SEASON SUCCESS
“You can’t write yourself off, ever. It’s hard, because when you’re playing, and you feel like the year’s kind of gone, it’s hard to kind of pick yourself up. But, once again, there’s the PGA and there’s four FedEx playoff events.
I remember Rory winning two events in the FedExCup last year and he ended up winning the FedExCup, coming off a year that probably he wouldn’t think it was the greatest year until the FedExCup Playoffs. You never know what’s around the corner.
I was talking to Phil last night about this. We were talking about plateaus and he was talking about a book. He was explaining this in a sense where we’re all in plateaus to a certain degree, and the way he explained it, you just never know when you’ll go from here to here, but you’ve got to all keep practicing and keep staying disciplined. Because it could be next week, it could be six months down the road, it could be six years from now. But as long as you keep improving it’ll jump up and you’ll have that great run again.
You just never know what’s around the corner. I’ve just got to focus. I feel confident about my game right now. I’m excited about this week. I’m very calm, which is good. Saying that, there’s a good chunk of events that I could play well in here and do quite well coming home.”
PGA CHAMPIONSHIP MOVING TO MAY IN 2019
“To be honest, I haven’t even really thought about it. I think you can have — as long as it’s not — you know, we don’t have a bad winter, you can pretty much hold this event anywhere now instead of really kind of holding it over on the east side of the United States. I mean, you can kind of push it anywhere.
I think it will do just fine. I mean, every month now has probably got a major championship. But to be honest, I really — I don’t know what the guys have been saying. I haven’t even really thought about it. I’d love to give you more than that, but I just haven’t thought about it, mate, honestly (laughing).”