OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. – The last two years Jason Day has started the playoffs in perfect position to win the season-long race, but that didn’t exactly translate into success.
Last year, he arrived at the playoff opener ranked first on his way to a sixth-place finish after missing the final two post-season stops with injury; and in ’15, when he began the playoffs second in points, he finished third in the final standings.
So this year the Australian, who ranks 49th on the points list, is content to try something new.
“I feel like I've come into this week or the playoffs under the radar, which is nice,” said Day, who opened with a 69 on Thursday at The Northern Trust and was five strokes off the early lead.
That’s not to say he’s entirely comfortable with his new professional plight after a relatively quiet season that’s included just three top-10 finishes.
“I didn't have any media Monday through Wednesday. I was a sponsor's pick for the pro-am. I'm like, 'Whoa, what's going on here?' It's been a long time since I've been one of those,” he laughed. “It's humbling being in a position like this because I know I've had it good for a long time and through some poor play this year, I haven't been in the position that I would like to be, and humbling as in I need to work a lot harder than what I'm doing right now.”
Day – who won the playoff opener in ’15 and finished runner-up here in ’14 – can take some solace in the fact that Rory McIlroy won last year’s FedExCup after starting the post-season ranked 36th on the regular-season points list.