Jason Day believes lessons from his battle with vertigo at the US Open can help him break through in this week’s British Open at St Andrews.
Now with eight top-10 finishes in majors from 19 starts, including five top-fours, Day aims to draw on resilience discovered then to help him become Australia’s first claret jug winner since Greg Norman in 1993.
His biggest lesson came in round three at last month’s US Open, the day after he’d collapsed on course due to vertigo, when he seemed unlikely to even tee off yet produced stirring golf to be tied for the lead.
“There are a lot of positives but the main one was to just really know what you have got with your back up against the wall,” said 27-year-old Day.
“Now you know you can push yourself an extra bit further.
“Even though you just want to give up and pack it in and walk away, which is easy to do, the hard thing to do is to stand up straight and keep moving forward and I was able to do that to an extent.
“It was a good week mentally for me in that regard. The vertigo really made me focus on the shot at hand.
“I need to replicate that this week.”
While taking the good from a round lauded as one of the most courageous of recent times, home truths were also garnered from the final round when he went backwards and finished ninth, five shots behind winner Jordan Spieth.
“I just made too many mistakes and I wasn’t patient enough. I have to be a lot more patient in final rounds,” Day said.
With 18 birdies over the week, the same as Spieth and runner-up Dustin Johnson, Day need only limit out mistakes to continue to be a perennial contender.
It is a stat that has plagued most of his near misses.
“I was a little nervous in the final group and I knew I was thinking differently,” he admitted.
“I know now, don’t be so aggressive. Don’t be so ‘I have to hole this putt’.
“With patience I could have been there when it all happened at the end.
“I played great the first three days so why should the last day be any different?
“That change in my mindset threw everything out. I was a little bit impatient with myself and from there I made mistakes I didn’t make in the early days.
“But it was good for experience and gives me confidence for this week and, of course, winning my first major at the home of golf would be ridiculously good.”