LAHAINA, HAWAII – Jason Day knows he’s slow.
He prefers the word deliberate.
And he intends to stay that way.
Or, the way Day sees it as he prepares to open his 2017 season at the SBS Tournament of Champions Thursday at Kapalua’s Plantation Course, he wants to get back to taking his own sweet time.
“Obviously that’s a big subject in golf, to speed up the game. In my opinion, I don’t care so much about speeding up my game. I’ve got to get back to what makes me good,” Day said.
“If that means I have to back off five times then I’m going to back off five times before I have to actually hit the shot.
“For recreational golf, I understand. But for golfers that are trying to win and that one shot that could take you out of a playoff, that’s important. You need to make sure that you get everything correct. Because we’re driven by results. We want to be the best and we want to do everything but like the average Joe just doesn’t get it.”
Day, who has been ranked No. 1 in the world for the past 40 weeks, hasn’t played since withdrawing from the final two FedEx Cup playoff events in September due to a chronic back condition.
He said he touched his golf clubs only twice during his extended offseason but he feels good about the state of his game and his body. Day won three times last spring, dominating the first half of the Tour season as he put a firm grip on the No. 1 ranking.
In evaluating his 2016 season, Day he said felt he drifted away from the pre-shot routine that includes him closing his eyes to visualize each shot before stepping into it.
Day said he was only put on the clock once by PGA Tour rules officials in 2016 and four times in 2015. He is aware of the PGA Tour’s so-called “time par” and said he tries to be conscious of other players.
He said a combination of media pressure and his reputation for taking his time caused him to slightly quicken his pace last year. He also cited Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as top players who didn’t mind how long it took them to play a shot.
“Thinking about it now when I was playing and competing and doing really well, I forgot about that stuff. I didn’t care what people thought, if I was slow or not. And I played better,” Day said.
“But if you look at the times, I didn’t get overly timed and I played some good golf. I hit a lot more fairways, hit a lot more greens because of it.
“I just have to make sure I’m deliberate. Still respect other players. You have to respect the time the PGA Tour has given us and respect the other players are trying to do a job as well.”