Jason Day has a fitting venue to play in what’s dubbed the “close but no cigar” grouping at the US PGA Championship.
World No.5 Day will tee off alongside No.8 Dustin Johnson and No.7 Rickie Fowler for the opening two rounds at Whistling Straits from Thursday.
All three have had good chances to win maiden major titles without quite getting it done, though it seems just a matter of time.
For Day, it’s a return to the venue and tournament where his great run of consistent excellence at major championships began five years ago.
As a baby-faced 22-year-old, Day was one shot off the lead at Whistling Straits with 10 holes to play in the 2010 US PGA Championship before a double bogey on the ninth hole saw him fade out of contention to a tie for 10th.
Playing with winner Martin Kaymer, Day got a close up lesson in grinding out a championship.
In his 20 major starts the 27-year-old Australian now boasts nine top-10s, including three runner-ups, a third and two fourths, including his fourth at the British Open last month.
“I remember having a chance five years ago,” said Day on Tuesday.
“I was a nervous wreck back then and, while I still have nerves at majors, I know what to expect and how to treat them.
“I feel like my game has evolved in a way that has me almost ready for any situation.
“Whatever gets thrown at me this week I am going to take it on the chin and keep pushing forward and hope that has me in the mix at the end of the week.”
Day’s playing partner Johnson especially will be under the microscope at Whistling Straits.
The long-hitting American only needed a par on the final hole in 2010 to win the championship but sprayed his driver wide right and then infamously grounded his club in a sandy waste area, deemed a bunker, and instead of heading into a playoff was informed of a two-shot penalty which ended his championship.
Johnson has added other hard-luck stories since, including his three-putt from 12-feet at the US Open earlier this year to hand Jordan Spieth his second consecutive major.
Adam Scott, the last Australian to win a major at the 2013 Masters, is looking to take advantage of the last major where he can legally anchor his broomstick putter.
The world No.11 is under the radar despite being one of just 27 players in the field to have been at Whistling Straits for the last two PGA Championships in 2004 and 2010.
“It’s a big week. I have lifted my game for the last couple of majors and been right in the mix and I expect nothing less this week,” Scott said.
“I don’t feel like I am winning enough for the amount of good play I have had over the last two seasons but that can change quickly.”
Marc Leishman is hoping he can build off making the three-man playoff at the British Open while Steven Bowditch is riding some good form, the second-best Australian on the US tour this year behind Day.
Matt Jones and brother Brett will become the first Australian brothers in modern times to compete in the same major championship together.
Brett qualified as a club professional. He is currently the head pro at Due Process Stable in Colts Neck, New Jersey, having moved to the USA in 2003.
Geoff Ogilvy, John Senden and Cameron Smith round out the Australian tilt.