Jason Day has promised to be the leader that the Internationals team needs him to be after conceding that his attitude in previous Presidents Cup has not been at the level that should be expected.
Currently sixth in Presidents Cup standings but the top-ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings of those players vying for a place on Ernie Els’ Internationals team, Day will be a crucial cog in their efforts to overthrow the American team at Royal Melbourne Golf Club from December 12.
Day will partner 2013 World Cup of Golf-winning partner Adam Scott at this week’s PGA TOUR Zurich Classic that sees two-man teams play fourballs and foursomes on alternate days.
It is a rare chance for members of the Internationals team to play such a format outside the Presidents Cup itself and will give Els invaluable insight into possible pairings for Melbourne later in the year.
Ranked No.14 in the world, Day last played in Australia at the 2017 Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club and has promised to take on more responsibility when he arrives at Royal Melbourne in December.
“It has to start at the top, and I've made mistakes with regards to not mentally being there,” Day said of his performances in end-of-season events such as the Presidents Cup.
“You can obviously see my results in Korea and I wasn't mentally there unfortunately with regards to being there for the team when needed, performing for the team.
“That was one Presidents Cup that we had a very good opportunity to win, and sometimes you have to look at leadership and ask the questions why.
“For me, I made the mistake and I need to understand we've got 11 other guys on the team that are trying just as hard or trying even harder than myself.
“I've got to pick the slack up so you're fighting for everyone else that's on the team.”
In four appearances for the Internationals team since 2011 Day has a record of five wins, 11 losses and four halved matches, splitting his four singles matches with wins over Brandt Snedeker (2013) and Charley Hoffman (2015) and going down to Hunter Mahan (2011) and Zach Johnson (2017).
Now 31 years of age, Day is determined to follow the lead of Scott and take on a more senior role with the team in 2019.
“Scotty has been one of the major voices in the team room and you can see in his emotions and his attitude with regard to losing every single year,” Day said of Scott’s frustration of not being part of a winning Internationals team.
“It's disappointing for me to sit here and know that I can do better, and I should be doing better.
“I'm going to try and change my attitude and be a lot better for the Presidents Cups that I can play in.”
While captain Ernie Els works on building a more cohesive Internationals unit in New Orleans this week, the influence of Royal Melbourne itself is seen as a trump card for the home side.
The only Internationals victory came at Royal Melbourne in 1998 and Day believes the leadership of Els and Scott will be crucial in taking advantage of any local knowledge.
“That golf course itself is very difficult, especially with regards to what kind of weather we get there,” said Day, with many American players expected to come into Melbourne from Tiger Woods’ tournament in the Bahamas in the early hours of Monday morning.
“How the ball reacts on the fairway and the greens is totally different than what we get over here in the States.
“Obviously local knowledge is key, but fingers crossed we have a lot of fast learners and some good veteran players on the team such as Adam Scott and Ernie as a captain to be able to let these guys know.
“I know for a fact that Adam and Ernie have played that course in tournament conditions multiple times beforehand, so it's good to be able to have leadership like that to be able to relay the message across to the younger guys.”
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