Jason Day endured the worst year of his career, and arguably the worst year of his life, in 2017.

Dealing with several injuries, he went winless for the first time since 2012 and slipped from the summit of the world rankings to 13th.

In his personal life he had to deal with his mother’s lung cancer diagnosis and his wife suffered a miscarriage.

Day said: “[2017] was a good kick in the butt.

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“Injuries and what happened with my mother and then other things and just really struggling off the course was tough, and it really got to me last year.

“It’s hard to play competitive golf because it is such a mental grind. It’s hard to play and focus on other things.

“You just can’t do it because the guys will eat you apart; they’re just so good out here.”

We may only be two-and-a-half months into 2018, but its story so far has been quite the contrast for Day.

There’s only been two appearances so far, but they read quite nicely: first and tied second.

His first start of the year was at the Farmers Insurance Open where he brushed aside Sweden’s Alex Noren on a delayed Monday play-off for his first title in 20 months. Two weeks later he fell three shots shy of Ted Potter Jr at Pebble Beach, and was joined by some illustrious company in Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

Anything would be an improvement on 2017’s golfing ventures for Day.

“I just knew that this year was going to be a lot better. I focused on 2018 and as soon as I had the time off, I got myself mentally prepared to come out and work as hard as I can, find that desire again to want to be the best and be number one,” he added

“And it’s worked out so far this year.”

Day is now at the Arnold Palmer Invitational for his first appearance in five weeks, and is feeling confident after his prosperous start to the year.

“You’ve got to feel good coming off the first two starts. When I feel balanced off course, when there’s no stress off course, it comes into my game and makes life a lot easier on the golf course.

“I feel mentally and physically refreshed and ready to go. I’m definitely confident in my abilities right now, but I treat every week as a new week.”

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