Jason Day has met Jack Nicklaus on countless occasions.
As an Ohio resident and member of Muirfield Village – site of this week’s Memorial Tournament – Day and the game’s greatest major champion are often in close proximity.
Yet on 10 separate occasions they’ve never formally met up on the Sunday of the Memorial, a date Day is desperate to keep this week.
Day and fellow Australian Adam Scott have been drawn alongside Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama for the opening two rounds in what shapes as an additional 36-holes of Presidents Cup bonding.
For Day, however, the focus is very much on this week and reversing what for a player of his calibre can only be described as a lacklustre record.
As the 2016 champion of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Day was the last player to be greeted leaving the 18th green by one of the game’s most magnetic personalities before his passing and now wants to add a Nicklaus congratulatory handshake to his list of achievements.
"I got to shake Arnie's hand ... it'd be nice to shake Mr Nicklaus' hand after you win a tournament," Day told AAP.
"It'd be amazing to have this win on your resume.
"Maybe I'm putting too much pressure on myself, but it's definitely frustrating to not get into contention,” added Day, whose best result at Muirfield is a tie for 15th two years ago.
"I really enjoy the golf course; it's fantastic. But I think I've been too aggressive in the past.
"My record is slowly getting better and I hope to change that this year."
Customary of Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, Muirfield’s challenge lies predominantly in that presented by the approach shots, an area of Day’s game that has not traditionally been a strength.
One of the best putters on tour and ninth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Day knows he needs his irons to fire to be in the mix come Sunday.
"This is a second shot golf course, and typically my irons haven't been the strongest part of my game," Day said.
"If you can have your irons firing, you can play well around here.
"That's why Tiger Woods has won here five times. He's one of the best iron players ever."
Joining Day and Scott in the field this week are countrymen Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, Aaron Baddeley and Matt Jones, Scott’s tie for 35th the best of the Aussies 12 months ago.
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