By Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent, Augusta
Former world number one Jason Day is relishing the battle to get back to the top of the rankings as he makes his return to the Masters.
Day first topped the rankings a month after winning the US PGA Championship in 2015 but has struggled for form and fitness in recent years, with his last PGA Tour win coming in May 2018.
The Australian’s ranking slipped as low as 164th last year, and he was only eligible for one major – the US PGA as a past champion – but his form in 2023 has been vastly improved.
Reaching the quarter-finals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play ensured Day was inside the world’s top 50 in time to earn an invite to Augusta National, where he finished second on his debut in 2011 and has recorded three other top 10s.
“I think I’m more excited by the journey and trying to get back there,” Day, currently world number 35, said when asked about recapturing former glories.
“When I got to number one in the world I thought I would feel a little bit different when I would wake up on Monday morning and see my name at number one, and it didn’t really change too much.
“When I got to number one, it came from a very hard place. Sacrifice everything. Very, like, forget about how your body feels, just kind of just force it in there.
“And this time around I’m kind of learning more about how my body is working, what I need to do to keep myself healthy and trying to understand the swing itself, and really trying to learn more about the process of getting there.
“I always say the first time that I got to number one it was just through sheer great putting. I hit it OK, but I just putted off the charts, and the mentality wasn’t sustainable.
“So this time around, I’m enjoying the journey and I’m learning each and every day, and I’ve actually got a lot of love and passion for it.”