As a child, Jason Day would awake at 4 a.m. to watch the Masters Tournament.
The 26-year Australian remains just as enthusiastic about the event. After posting a pair of top-three finishes in the past three Masters, Day spoke Monday about his affection for Augusta National Golf Club.
“I just love everything about this place, the history and tradition behind Augusta National and the Masters,” he said. “It’s golfing heaven in such a small place in the middle of America, and every year it’s just fun.”
Day, who suffered a thumb injury earlier in the year, hopes to win a second green jacket in a row for Australia. The world’s fourth-ranked player can climb closer to No. 1 with a win this week.
Despite withdrawing from the 2012 Masters with an ankle injury, he is 19-under-par in his other two appearances. Day shot 64 in the second round of the 2011 tournament, eventually finishing two shots behind Charl Schwartzel.
Last year, Day almost became the first Australian to win the Masters. He birdied Nos. 13-15 to take the lead in the final round, then stumbled with bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17 and finished third, two shots off the lead.
“I always wanted to be the first Australian to win it,” said Day, who owns six top-10 finishes in the majors the past four years. “Obviously, Scotty got there first, but I’m happy to be the second.”
Day, a Beaudesert, Queensland, native, is returning to action for the first time since winning the WGC Match Play Championship, his first PGA Tour victory since 2010. During the February event, he injured his left thumb and was forced to miss the next seven weeks. Day recently received a cortisone shot for his thumb, which he now tapes as a precautionary measure.
Day has spent the past several days testing his thumb at the place he loves. So far, so good.
“I’ve played 36 holes here over the last four days and the hand’s coming up nicely,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to a nice, solid start.”