Jason Day with his runner-up US Open medal on debut in 2011 – photo Bruce Young
Not since his brilliant runner-up debut finish at the US Open in 2011 has Jason Day had to worry about the right to play the historic event.
2021, however, has Day looking at the possibility of not being in the field for Torrey Pines in two weeks’ time, his world ranking (69th) now having him outside the qualifying standard.
If he is unable to improve to inside the top 60 at the completion of this week’s Memorial, then only Sectional Qualifying in Ohio next week can save him.
Day’s world ranking is the lowest it has been since mid-2010 following a recent run which has seen him record just one top ten in 11 starts in 2021 and not one top 30 finishes in his last seven starts.
This week’s Memorial offers some hope although, other than a 4th place finish in the event in 2020, Day has a disappointing record at Muirfield Village.
In nine previous starts, Day has just that one top ten and on a golf course he knows so well, being a member at the layout near his home, it can only be described as a surprising history.
If Day is unable to produce the win or top-two finish he likely needs this week to be inside the top 60 by next Monday, he will be forced to play Sectional Qualifying for the US Open in Ohio next Monday.
All is not lost, therefore, but given his current form it will be a tough battle for him to again play the event in which he has been twice runner-up and five times inside the top ten in ten starts.
Adding further to the frustration for Day is that this year’s US Open is being played at a venue that has been so kind to him over his years in golf. Day won a World Junior title at Torrey Pines and in his professional career to date he has been twice a winner and once runner-up at the clifftop course near San Diego.
Currently six Australians have earned the right to play the event via their various standing in world golf or through their performances in world golf over the last twelve months or so.
Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Brad Kennedy, Wade Ormsby and Matt Jones are those Australians in the field at this stage but several more will be hoping for either something very special this week or to negotiate their way through the demands of Sectional Qualifying.
Included amongst several other Australians who have advanced to Sectional Qualifying are Cameron Davis, Aaron Baddeley, Robert Allenby, Min Woo Lee and amateur, Karl Vilips.
Update – the pending arrival of Day’s 4th child adds another complication in his preparation.