Jason Day says his own self-belief is the only thing standing in the way of a return to the form that saw him win the 2015 PGA Championship and become world No.1.
Day contends that while his body, swing and putting can certainly continue to show improvement, they are all in a good enough place for him to contend at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course – as long as he himself believes it.
In the last eight PGA Championships, Day has a win and a further four top 10 finishes while never finishing worse than 23rd.
He hopes that mojo continues as he looks to arrest a slide that sees him at 65th in the world rankings, his worst position since August 2010.
The 12-time PGA Tour winner has now gone over three years without a win and if he can’t find a way into the world top-60 after the PGA this week, or on June 7, he won’t have qualified for the US Open to be held at Torrey Pines where he’s won twice before.
“My game is pretty solid and has shown a lot of good signs recently despite the results,” Day told AAP.
“My confidence in my putting and iron play is growing and, honestly, the last piece of the puzzle is having the confidence and belief in myself to trust I can put it all together when it counts.
“It’s really the only thing holding me back. I know if I just let my mind go to the right places, that form from all those years ago is inside me. I just have to unlock it.”
With firm and fast conditions and tricky winds forecast for the week, the 2015-16 version of Day, who spent a total of 51 weeks as world No.1, would have relished the tough test ahead.
The 33-year-old version of Day will need the same high level of scrambling if he is to contend.
“If my best short game turns up then a tough grind like this would be tremendous for me,” he said.
“That’s why I need to bring the confidence and belief. I need to trust my visualisation and mental preparation. I need positive self-talk and I need to trust the results I’m getting in practice. Then results on the course will come.”
Day will also need to hope that wife Ellie doesn’t go into early labour. With their fourth child due within the next 10 days, Day reiterated that he would walk off the course and return home to Ohio to be at the birth, even if it came while leading with nine holes to play.
“I’ve got to go. I’m not going to miss the birth. It would be nice to win, but family is forever. That’s the way I’ve always looked at it.”