DORAL, Fla. -- Four times since 2011 Jason Day has finished second or third in a major championship. The only thing he hasn’t done is won one.
Perhaps that’s about to change.
The 26-year-old is coming off a victory at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship two weeks ago and hopes the second win of his career will be a “springboard” to bigger things.
“I've never been so focused in my life on competing and playing well than I have been this year,” the Aussie said Tuesday from Trump National Doral, site of this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship. “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.
“Ever since the World Cup win last year, it's been very motivating for me to go out and do the work and really see and push myself how far I can go.”
On a handful of occasions, Day has pushed himself to the brink of a major breakthrough, including at last year’s Masters, where was in the lead late on Sunday after three straight birdies before bogeys on 16 and 17.
“The pressure did get a little bit to me,” he admitted. "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.”
Instead, another Australian slipped his arms into The Green Jacket and Day had to settle for a third-place finish.
Two years earlier, Day was second at Augusta National. He has since twice finished second at the U.S. Open as well.
While Day says he enjoys playing under the pressure of contending in big events, his win over the gritty Victor Dubuisson at Dove Mountain was an important one.
"A lot of people would be talking that I couldn't finish," Day said. "You get to a breaking point in your golf game where it can go either way. You go, 'OK, I've had enough and I just need to sit down and chill out.' Or you go, ‘No, stuff that, I'm going to push through it and I'm not going to quit until I win.’
"You guys have been blessed by seeing Tiger Woods win for so many years. 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."