MONTREAL: Australia’s top-ranked Jason Day is back at the event where he launched the greatest year of his career and hoping to repeat as champion of the Canadian Open.
The 28-year-old will be among the favorites at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario, this week after edging two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson by a stroke there last year.
That began a run of seven Day victories in 12 months, including his first major title at last year’s PGA Championship, a crown he will try to defend next week at Baltusrol.
“I would like to win everything from here on in,” Day said Wednesday. “You have just got to want it more than the next guy.”
Day, who has withdrawn from the Rio Olympics over Zika virus concerns, followed with triumphs at last year’s Barclays and BMW Championships during the US PGA playoffs and three more titles this year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, World Golf Championships Match Play and Players Championship. And the BMW, Palmer and Players crowns were wire-to-wire victories.
“I feel very confident right now,” Day said. “I have been playing tremendous golf. I know if I can somehow keep winning, that takes care of everything.”
That’s asking a lot with four titles to defend in the next two months even with the Olympics not on his schedule.
And it all starts with trying to become the Canadian Open’s first back-to-back winner since American Jim Furyk in 2006 and 2007.
“I have good memories here,” Day said. “It’s coming into crunch time for me. I have a lot on me expectation-wise. The biggest thing is to properly prepare and be able to go after it 100 percent.”
Day hopes the work to defend the Canadian crown will help next week when he tries to defend a major title for the first time.
“I’ll try and soak up the experience of what that entails with regards to the start of the week going to the champion dinner and having to defend and all that stuff,” Day said.
“But once Thursday comes around, you have to go out there and execute and play good.”
Day will play the first and second rounds alongside American Brandt Snedeker and four-time major champion Ernie Els of South Africa.
World number two Dustin Johnson, coming off a victory in last month’s US Open for his first major title, will also prepare for the PGA with a title bid at Glen Abbey.
“It’s a golf course where if I drive it well, I’m going to play pretty well,” Johnson said.
Johnson will play the first two days alongside Furyk and fellow American Billy Hurley, who won at Congressional last month to claim a British Open spot but skipped Royal Troon to attend his sister’s wedding.
British Open winner Henrik Stenson, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, two-time major winner Jordan Spieth, Watson, Rickie Fowler and Open runner-up Phil Mickelson are taking the week off ahead of the last major tournament of the year.