Jason Day is looking to get back in the winners’ circle.
Jason Day is looking to get back in the winners’ circle.

New Day rises for run at golf's No.1 spot

THIS week's Australian Open is the beginning of Jason Day's climb back to the top of the world rankings.

The former world number one has slipped to 12th, just one spot ahead of fellow Aussie Marc Leishman, after his first winless season since 2013.

Day is returning to Australia to play for the first time since that year, when he won the World Cup with Adam Scott, and will take on world number two Jordan Spieth at the Australian Golf Club this week.

Spieth, the defending Australian Open champion, used his first victory in the event in 2014 to springboard him to two major wins, including the Masters, within six months of his success.

And with a turbulent year behind him, which included his mother Dening's successful cancer battle, Day knows he has what it takes to get back to the top.

"I know in my heart I will climb that mountain," he said.

"It's going to be a difficult one, but I've had a taste of it, and for me it was very stressful being number one, all the demands that came with that.

"I feel very motivated, I think my 30s are going to be better than my 20s, and I'm very motivated to get back there."

Day, who turned 30 earlier this month, conceded the demands of being world number one, a mantle he held for 51 weeks through 2015 and 2016, took a toll and he would "handle them better" next time around.

But he said winning was the only way to get back there, and he wanted to get his next victory this week, in a tournament he has always longed to win.

Jordan Spieth used the Australian Open as a launching pad.
Jordan Spieth used the Australian Open as a launching pad.

 

"We always talk about major championships and playing in and winning majors, and for me, I grew up watching the summer of golf in Australia and more so the Australian Open," Day said.

"Being able to watch that, I always wanted to win the Stonehaven Cup - it's always been on my bucket list to hopefully one day hold up that trophy.

"It would be really, really nice to be able to do that this year, but obviously I can't get ahead of myself … because there is going to be some stiff competition in Sydney."

Day is a $5.50 second favourite with the TAB to salute this week, behind Spieth ($3) who will be playing without long-time caddie Micheal Greller.

Instead Spieth's coach, Aussie Cameron McCormick, will carry the world number two's bag as he looks for a third Australian Open title.



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