Tiger Woods has challenged Jason Day to convert his undoubted potential into British Open glory after catching a first-hand glimpse of his protege’s charge into contention at St Andrews.
A two-time runaway winner of The Open at the home of golf, Woods cast aside his own disappointment at missing the cut to offer Day a spine-tingling insight into how it feels to lift the famous Claret Jug.
The 14-time major champion won The Open by eight shots at St Andrews in 2000 and then by five in 2005.
Day will enter the third round three off the pace and with Woods believing Australia’s three-time major runner-up can finally break through in The Open’s second-ever Monday finish.
The master and apprentice played together, along with 2010 champion Louis Oosthuizen, during the first two rounds and Woods is convinced Day can win The Open.
“We were coming up 18,” Woods said.
“I said: `It’s the greatest walk in golf.’
“He (Day) says: `Yeah, it’s nice when you have an eight-shot lead, too.
“I said: `Well, you just go ahead and go get that lead’.
“He’s playing well enough to do it. The greens are soft and receptive and, if you’re driving it well and driving it long, this golf course is very much gettable.”
Woods told AAP earlier this year he believed Day, with hard-working and father-figure caddie Col Swatton in his corner, was very much a major winner in waiting.
“He’s going to win one, there’s no doubt about that,” said golf’s longest-serving world No.1.
“He’s got the talent. He’s got the game. He’s still so young.
“He’s proven he can put in the time. He puts in the effort. He puts in the work. Him and Col, they go at it pretty good and it is good stuff.”
Day has long been a perennial contender in the majors, putting up eight top-10 finishes in 19 starts including three runner-ups, a third and a fourth.
The 27-year-old goes into round three trailing Dustin Johnson by three shots, the same margin he began moving day at last month’s US Open before his memorable post-vertigo charge into the lead.
“It’s just slow steps,” Day said on Saturday after signing for a solid one-under-par second-round 71 in brutal conditions at the Old Course.
“Thirty-six holes (to go); we’re going to have slightly easier conditions tomorrow.
“It’s still going to be tough, but I think the scoring conditions are going to be a lot more accessible, more playable.
“I don’t know what Monday holds for us, but there’s definitely going to be a lot more opportunities.”