Amidst criticism from the likes of Adam Scott and defence from the likes of Rory McIlroy regarding the difficulty of US Open tracks, Jason Day has made his opinion clear by saying that the harder the course is, the more he prefers it.
The USGA is renowned for its extreme set-ups at the US Open with the winning score having only broken 10-under-par (Rory McIlroy in 2011) once. But that is a challenge that Day is relishing.
“I would much rather the course harder than easier, tough conditions, windy conditions, rain whatever it is, as long as it’s harder, I feel like I play a lot better in conditions like that,” said the world-number-three.
“The USGA do a fantastic job not only testing the physical side but the mental side of things, but also the state of your whole game.
“The person that wins at the end of the week they want everything firing right at the right time,” he added.
Day also believes that, as well as an ability to combat the testing conditions, the winner this week will need to have the drive and desire to take home a major title.
“Everyone is going to run into some sort of trouble out there. It’s a matter of how you handle yourself in that moment to prepare yourself to greatness. It brings how much you desire to win the actual tournament, itself.
“Everyone has a breaking point and a limit or threshold that they’ll reach. And they’ll go, okay, do I actually want to push it even more or do I have enough in the tank?
“Those moments are the moments when you learn the most about yourself, whether you can actually push more than you’ve ever pushed before in your life.
“And that’s why I like tougher conditions, because it constantly tests that barrier to see if I can push even further and further and further mentally and physically with regards to playing tough venues such as the U.S. Open like this.”
One of Day’s two runner-up finishes at this event came against McIlroy’s 16-under in 2011 but he believes he has a great chance this year regardless of how the USGA decide to set up at Erin Hills.
“I remember finishing second to Rory at Congressional. He shot, I think 16-under par, I shot 8-under par, and we got lapped by him. It was a freak week where the scoring conditions were low because of the weather
“With that said, about 1-under, 2-under, even par – they can set up the course whatever they want. I’m okay with it if 5-over ends up winning,” he finished.
Day tees off his US Open campaign with McIlroy and 2013 champion Justin Rose at 2:09pm Central on Thursday.