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By Ben Everill
SAN FRANCISCO, California, April 28 AAP – Jason Day has vowed to keep up his aggressive win-at-all-costs match play attitude as he defends the World Golf Championship Match Play title.
The world No.7 has made a reputation for himself as one of the games best match play golfers, but has also ruffled a few feathers with his gritty competitive style.
The Queenslander claimed last years event and was third the year before with the help of a give-them-nothing attitude, refusing to concede putts and using mind games against his opponents.
When asked if he was worried about now having a target on his back the 27-year-old refused to flinch.
“I’m not even worried about it. I really want to have a great record here and let everyone know that I am one of the best match play players in the world,” Day said.
“If you play me in match play, you’re going to have a tough time.
“I’ll be the same as usual, don’t give as many putts as I should, but that’s how it is. You’re out there to beat the guy across the tee box from you.”
Day’s 14-3 event record comes from the previous venue at Dove Mountain in Tucson so the move to Harding Park in San Francisco, and the new round robin format, while welcomed by most is yet to win over the Australian.
Regardless he will focus on playing his opponent, more than the course, trying to work out the psychology of the player in his quest for victory. He admits to trying to rile up guys who struggle with anger and buttering up those who can fire when prodded.
“You’ve got to watch who is a confrontational player and who isn’t and kind of watch what his personality is”, Day said.
“If you play Tiger (Woods) pi**** , he plays better. So there is a lot of personality that you have to kind of manage.”
Day won’t be playing Woods, who failed to qualify, but his first up assignment is getting through his group stage against 49th seed Charley Hoffman, 38th seed Branden Grace and 24th seed Zach Johnson.
If he can do so, his potential round of 16 opponent could be Sergio Garcia before a likely quarterfinal against either Masters champion Jordan Spieth or fellow match play specialist Patrick Reed.