Early this decade, the Masters was in Jason Days destiny.
He exploded onto the PGA tour and the reverberations were felt most at Augusta. In his debut tournament in 2011, he finished tied second with fellow Australian Adam Scott, beaten by South African Charl Schwartzel whose win would most likely stump even golfing train-spotters in a trivia contest.
Two years later, he finished third behind Scott.
His worst finish since was 28th in 2015, ironically his best year on Tour with five wins including a major – the US PGA Championship.
He would go on to finish top 10 in six of the next eight majors.
Augustas generous fairways suit Days power game and his short game is of the required calibre to handle the notorious greens and surrounds.
To compete here, you have to be at your very best, otherwise Augusta National will chew you up and spit you out. Which is where 2019 comes in for Day.
He's not at his very best.
In fact, he is way short of it thanks to a nagging back injury which more and more certainly needs surgery.
Ranked 14th in the world, hes had four top 10s this season – not disastrous. But the last month has been the problem.
He withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, missed the cut at the Valspar Championship and failed to win any of his three matches at last weeks World Match Play.
The only shining light, an eighth at the Players Championship.
Day played nine holes at Augusta yesterday. On Saturday and Sunday, he only walked the course and chipped and putted around the greens. With the weather closing in, he may only get another nine holes in on Wednesday – for a total of 18 practice holes all up pre-tournament.
After his half round yesterday, he struggled to talk himself up.
He laboured over answers about his back problems and there was an absence of the infectious smile which accompanied him through his rise on the tour.
Asked by the Sydney Morning Herald if hed be OK for four days of Masters intensity, he answered: "Should be I mean, if not, Ill just kind of hopefully tough, you know, go through it and be alright. But you know … the Match Play, Vaslpar was tough," he said.
"Form is ok, the last two weeks havent been that great but, if I needed to peak, its obviously this one. Im just trying to get back into the swing of things with regards to getting out there and getting that trust back into it."
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