Day using lighter approach at Masters

Jason Day

Birthplace: Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia.

Age: 28.

Turned pro: 2006.

How qualified: Several qualifications, the notable being winning last year's PGA Championship.

Best Masters finish: T-2nd in 2011.

Best stat this season: Day is third in strokes-gained putting at .970.

Jason Day sat on a bus, ready to give up golf.

He no longer enjoyed the sport. He no longer wanted to practice.

Surrounded by his wife, his agent and a sports psychologist, they talked about him just trying to have fun in his first Masters at Augusta National.

Cut loose from stress and with no expectations, Day finished tied for second.

Just like that, he said golf became fun again.

It’s been fun since. He won the PGA Championship last year with a majors record 20-under par for his first major and enters his sixth Masters this week as the No. 1 ranked player in the world and among the favorites to win a green jacket with two wins already this season at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play.

“Going through that tough time, understanding now, my whole team is very, very close, and I understand I don’t pay my guys to give me yes answers,” Day said. “I pay them to tell me what’s going on really in my life. And at that time, it was a tough time, but I’m glad I got through it and sitting here today No. 1 in the world. “

To improve his chances this week, Day is going to adopt a similar approach to the one that led him to success in 2011. He’s going to try to not think so much as he plays the beautiful uneven terrain of Augusta.

He followed his second-place finish with a missed cut in 2012, a third-place in 2013 and t-20th and t-28th in 2014 and 2015.

He theorized on Tuesday that he tried too hard in some of those tournaments, overthinking putts and shots instead of trusting his preparation and routine.

Day thinks he began to force things because of the success he was experiencing. The variations on questions about winning – when, where and how – took his focus off what he was trying to focus on: staying in the moment, trusting himself and having fun.

“Don’t do anything more; don’t do anything less, and from there, just try and go out and execute,” he said.

Day expects a tough Masters field and wants the best playing against the best in Sunday’s final round, with the roars ricocheting around the pines as players slug it out on the back nine.

“I enjoy and thrive off that competitiveness,” he said. “I would enjoy a Spieth McIlroy Fowler Scott Watson Mickelson Sunday. That would be a lot of fun.”