AUSTIN, Texas – Jason Day may have softened his stance on conceding putts, but don’t expect him to pick up his opponent’s ball too often this week at the WGC-Dell Match Play.
Paul Casey knows the drill.
It was Casey who sparred with Day in 2011 after the Australian didn’t concede an 18-inch putt. Day won the match, but Casey wasn’t pleased afterward.
“I feel like everyone gets upset at me when they play match play against me,” Day said. “I don’t give away too many putts. But I think over time I’ve become a lot softer in my match play.”
Casey will be the judge of that – he faces off against Day again Friday at Austin Country Club during the third round of pool play.
When asked whether there was any lingering animosity following that incident, Day replied: “No. Everyone knows that when you’re out there, you’re fighting and you’re trying to compete against each other.”
Day's mind games may have worked that time, because he won the next couple of holes and advanced. But he wasn’t as fortunate two years later against Russell Henley, when he didn’t concede a couple of 2-footers and it backfired.
“I kind of peeved him off and he was the wrong person to peeve off, because he actually came back and nearly beat me in one of the matches,” Day said. “So you’ve just got to kind of watch, because some guys play better when they’re angry. They start to focus a lot better and you’ve got to watch their personality, their character and how they play.”
So what’s his philosophy in match play?
“I’m assuming that I’m going to go out there and hole every single putt,” he said. “And I’m not going to be surprised by someone going, OK, you have to putt that.”
Given Day’s history, his opponents shouldn’t be surprised, either.