MIAMI: Reigning US Open champion Justin Rose said on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) that the tendinitis problem in his right shoulder is easing while Filipino-Australian Jason Day hopes his recent win in the WGC Matchplay will help him break his major drought.
Both spoke ahead of Thursday’s start of the $9 million World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship at Doral, a key tuneup one month ahead of 2014’s first major event, the Masters.
Rose took last week off because of tendon problems that he says are not yet 100 percent sorted, but returns at Doral looking to match his win of two years ago.
“The tendon just gets angry if you do too much,” Rose said.
“It’s very uneventful, but I just sort of have to be very meticulous and methodical in my warm-ups and icing down and just do that for probably the next month or so and I imagine I’ll be fine.”
The 33-year-old Englishman was joint 45th last month at Riviera and lost in the second-round at the WGC Match Play. He plans to rest the two weeks before the Masters but hinted that could change if he feels he needs more playing time.
“I haven’t hit as many balls as I would, but that’s, I don’t believe, a contributing factor to how I’m going to perform,” Rose said.
Rose will play alongside Sergio Garcia and Zach Johnson off the first tee—one group in front of Tiger Woods, reigning Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.
Day never so focused
Day, meanwhile, hopes for prime preparation ahead of Augusta National and next month’s Masters as he seeks a major breakthrough after four top-three major finishes without a win.
The 26-year-old Aussie won the Match Play two weeks ago and sees it as a potential springboard to even greater success.
“I have never been so focused in my life on competing and playing well than I have been this year,” Day said. “I’ve put in a lot of work on the golf course and I’ve put in a lot of work off the golf course on my body, everything.
“It has been very motivating for me to go out and do the work and really see and push myself how far I can go.”
Day led the Masters coming into the final holes last year but bogeys at 16 and 17 ended his hopes and helped Scott become the first Aussie to win the Masters.
“The pressure did get a little bit to me,” Day said.
“Being in that situation was an amazing feeling going through my body. The rush that I got through my body after I birdied 15 was amazing.
“To have the lead there and go, ‘Oh, man, I only have three holes left. If I can play well from here, I’ll be the first Australian to win it,’ it was an amazing feeling.”
Day, who plays alongside Rory McIlroy and reigning British Open champion Phil Mickelson off the 10th tee, says 14-time major winner Woods has raised expectations to unfair levels with his 79 career titles.
“You guys have been blessed by seeing Tiger Woods win for so many years,” Day said. “People in general think it’s easy to win. It’s hard. It’s not easy to go out there and just do it.
“I’m trying to strive to become Tiger Woods, or in my own words Jason Day, but there’s just that human error. So many years we’ve watched Tiger hit so many clutch shots that people expect everyone on the PGA Tour should be doing that. And that’s why we practice so hard.”