World No. 2 Jason Day arrives in S. Korea, ready to duel with Spieth

October 5, 2015
Jason Day (C), the world's No. 2-ranked golfer, speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport on Oct. 5, 2015. (Yonhap)

Jason Day (C), the world’s No. 2-ranked golfer, speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport on Oct. 5, 2015. (Yonhap)

INCHEON, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) — Australian golfer Jason Day, the world No. 2 representing the International Team at this week’s Presidents Cup in South Korea, said he’d be more than happy to take on the top-ranked star on the U.S. Team at the match play competition.

Day is the top-ranked player for the International Team, made up of non-European stars. The U.S. Team will be led by world No. 1 Jordan Spieth, setting up the tantalizing prospect of a showdown between the world’s two best golfers at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, west of Seoul.

The two have traded places at the top of the world rankings in recent weeks, after combining for 10 victories and three majors on the PGA Tour. And Day, who arrived in South Korea Monday, said he knows the fans would love to see him and Spieth go toe-to-toe in the singles come Sunday.

“I think it’d be a lot of fun to play against Jordan,” he said. “We’ve gone back and forth this year. I think everyone wants to see that. Anyone on the U.S. side, I am happy to play against.”

Day, 27, is coming off the best season of his career, winning his first major at the PGA Championship after a series of close calls, and capturing two FedEx playoff events down the stretch. He briefly dethroned Spieth as the No. 1 golfer in the world, though Spieth regained the top spot by taking the season-ending Tour Championship.

The U.S. Team has beaten the International Team eight times in the 10 Presidents Cups so far, with a tie in 2003. The lone International Team victory came in 1998.

Day, who will be playing in his third straight Presidents Cup, said the reduction in the total points from 34 to 30, as a part of changes to this year’s Presidents Cup, will work in his team’s favor.

Playing fewer four-ball and foursome matches in the first two days will allow the International Team to stash out-of-form or lower-ranked players, and let top guns such as Day play a more prominent role.

“I think with this structure change we’ve had, it’s going to bring everything a lot closer, hopefully,” Day said. “We haven’t won since 1998, and we’re looking forward to trying to change that this week.”

Day also noted that having two South Korean-born players will be a boost to his team’s chances. Bae Sang-moon was one of two captain’s picks, thanks in large part to his Korean tour victories at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in 2013 and 2014. Danny Lee, a Seoul native now playing for New Zealand, was one of 10 automatic qualifiers for the team.

Day and Bae were paired together over the final two rounds of The Barclays, the first FedEx Cup playoff event on the PGA Tour. They had an outstanding third round together, both shooting seven-under 63s. Afterward, both players said they fed off each other as they traded birdies after birdies.

“I’d love to play with Sangmoon, or even Danny Lee,” Day said. “To be able to play with those guys will be great, especially in front of the home crowds. I think the crowds would be very much for these guys to go out there and play well. They’re both really good players and really good ball strikers. And they have a really good short game. It should be an exciting and nervous kind of week for them, too.”

Day had previously had his share of close calls at majors before breaking through at this year’s PGA Championship. With a strong finish to the PGA Tour season, he’s hoping to stay hot at the team competition.

“Playing well at the U.S. Open and the Open Championship really got me going, and from there, I turned everything on,” he said. “I had a really good second half of the season. I played the kind of golf I’ve always expected myself to play. There’s still a lot of work for next season but I am trying to focus on trying to win the Cup.”

Day became visibly emotional after winning the PGA Championship. He couldn’t guarantee he’d be able to hold himself together if the International Team wins.

“If we win the Cup this year, I will definitely shed a few tears,” he said with a smile.


  1. Jan arviso

    October 5, 2015 at 9:37 PM

    As a native American, navajo tribe from Arizona, I watch golf myself and when I saw you the first time, I saw my son n you. My son looks just like you. That’s the day I started cheering for you and I haven’t stopped. I’m so proud and beyond happy for you..

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