Jason Day heads to the Masters feeling "lighter" after positive news in his mother's fight with cancer, but admits he is under-prepared for the first major of the year.
The world's third-ranked player announced Tuesday that his mother's surgery to remove a tumor from her lung had beensuccessful and means she will not require chemotherapy. Day withdrew from the WGCDell Match Play last month due to her illness, but he will return to action in Augustabuoyed by the positive turn of events.
"My mum went through successful surgery on her left lung and just got the news from the doctor yesterday she doesn't have to do chemo, which is exciting stuff," Day told reporters Tuesday. "I feel a lot lighter in a sense, my mind is not weighing very much heavily on the situation my mum was going through. To be able to have that happen and then come here and get my mind off things, it's quite nice."
Day admitted the recent difficulties faced by his family have made it toughfor him to ensure he is in top form for the Masters — where his best finish is a tie for second in 2011 — but suggested the positive news has quickly impacted his game.
"I'm a little bit under-prepared to be honest," said Day. "Usually I have the week or two more weeks of tournament under my belt and maybe a week or two more weeks of practice as well and I didn't pick up a club from Match Play until I got here on Friday.
"Maybe it's a good thing, but once again I'm just going to do the best I can with what I got. My priority and main focus was my mother, and now that's evolved and taken care of I can start to focus on the golf side of things and do the best job I can.
"I feel like things are coming along. It's amazing the way that just being a lot happier, the swing feels like I'm hitting it a lot better, the short game, I feel like I've got more touch in my hands. I'm starting to get all my touch and feels back in my swing."
Day would relish the chance to don the green jacket for the first time, admitting the major has a special place in his heart, but knows he cannot push things too hard at Augusta.
"If I had to boil it down, I think it's just showing the course a little more respect," he said. "It's not about the bad holes I play so much, it's just that I need to respect it more and not really be too aggressive because if you're too aggressive out here you can put yourself in a very, very bad position. Not so much off the tee, but it's more so on the greens. If you don't position yourself well you're pretty much done.
"Two things in my life; Tiger Woods and Augusta National Masters is why I play golf. This is my favorite week of the year, it always is. To be able to do [win] it this week would be great, obviously with all the emotions that happened beforehand. It gets me excited to think about winning and accomplishing one of my life goals, but with that said I can't get too far ahead of myself."