Jason Day said he is hungry and motivated to reclaim the number one ranking as the two-time WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play champion prepares to make a splash in Austin.
Day was on top of the world when he dethroned Jordan Spieth as the top-ranked player in 2016 – a position he held for 51 weeks.
But Day fell away last year, on and off-course issues derailing the Australian star, who was visibly emotional as he abruptly withdrew from the 2017 WGC-Dell Match Play following his mother's cancer diagnosis.
Fortunately, Day's mother is now in remission and the 30-year-old – winner of the Farmers Insurance Open in January before finishing tied for 22nd at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational – is ready to return to the PGA Tour summit.
"Last year was a difficult year for me, obviously. It was hard for me to obviously be on the golf course at this point. But going through what I went through, being number one for 51 weeks and kind of being a little burned out was tough for me," Day told reporters ahead of Wednesday's opening matches, which will see him face Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Dufner and James Hahn.
"And I've revaluated myself at the end of last year, kind of reset some new goals, trying to stick to the process goals and trying to improve each and every week. But like once again, it's about climbing that mountain again and trying to get back to the top.
"I said to my team at the end of last year, I said the goal is -- because obviously I got two new caddies who I share, my best mates. And I had a meeting with them and that was the first official meeting with them. I said, look, every tournament we go to, we go there to focus and go there to have a plan of winning that tournament and going to the next one and trying to win that one. And our plan, our ultimate goal is to get back to number one in the world and that's that long-term goal. It may not happen this year, it may not happen next year, or it may happen this year. You never know how the runs happen or how the momentum changes in your game.
"This year I feel more hungry and motivated to get back to the top. There is a lot of tough competition there, but I feel like my game is really close, if I can just take in that proximity to the hole, give myself maybe one or two more looks on the greens, the way I'm putting it, because I'm leading strokes gained in putting, I think I'll be able to gain that back pretty quick."
The man top of the rankings at the moment is American Dustin Johnson, who is also the defending champion at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Johnson added: "Of I want a chance to repeat, then I'm going to have to do a lot of the same things, which is I'm going to have to play good every single match."
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