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Jason Day says he wanted to quit five years ago as world No 1 prepares for the Masters 

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Jason Day says he wanted to quit five years ago as world No 1 prepares for the Masters 
Jason Day became world No 1 after winning the WGC-Dell Match Play 
Day said five years ago his spirit was crushed and he considered quitting 
He remembers the day he nearly gave up golf and is thankful he didn't 
The Australian is much more at ease with life and golf five years on
Masters 2016 golf: Click here for our full guide to this year's tournamentMasters 2016 golf: All of the tee times for round one and two at Augusta  

Jason Day thought his first Masters would be his last. His spirit was crushed, his passion for the game eroded by the kind of frustration one might not expect the world’s number one golfer to endure.

Sat on his motor home with his wife and his support staff here at Augusta National, he actually wondered if his career was over.

‘Golf is a very, very frustrating game,’ he said on Tuesday with a nice balance of laughter and sincerity. ‘It really is. I can sympathize with everyone in this room that's played golf. It's a very difficult game at times, and especially as a professional.

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Jason Day says he wanted to quit five years ago as world No 1 prepares for the Masters 

‘You go from a junior, an amateur, playing for toasters. You're really playing for nothing other than pride and toasters. And you're playing for so much fun.

‘You're always having fun and you're playing to win, because there's no money involved. But once you turn professional, everything is based on results. You get knit‑picked in the media. Stats are always up saying he doesn't drive it straight enough or hit enough greens, or whatever it is.

‘Then you have to perform, because if you don't perform, then you're off the Tour. And then as time goes on, then you start stressing about, “okay, is there enough money up to get my card for next year?” And then you start losing a little bit of confidence. Then you start getting frustrated out there and then you don't practice because you're frustrated with how you're playing and it's a downward spiral from there.’

Jason Day says he wanted to quit five years ago as world No 1 prepares for the Masters 

By April 2011 Day thought he was done with it; finished at 23-years-old.

‘That day when I was sitting here in the bus, just across the road, I had my agent, my wife and a sports psychologist, and we're just sitting there, and I'm like, “I just do not like the game right now. I'm just having a very, very hard time picking up the golf club to even just enjoy myself out there”,’ he recalled.

‘So we come to the conclusion of just going and saying, “this might be my last Masters I ever play so I may as well enjoy it”. And I went out there and finished second. And then I loved the game again. It can be very emotional, golf. It's emotional highs and lows, and times when you're going through very, very rough times and you're hating the game, usually it's because you're not working hard enough; and it was.

Jason Day says he wanted to quit five years ago as world No 1 prepares for the Masters 

‘But when you're thinking about getting rid of caddies and coaches and agents and sometimes wives – that wasn't me, trust me - you have to pull your whole team in together. You have to pull them tighter and you have to feed off them a lot more. You have to understand that they are there and you're hiring them to give you a straight answer. And you pull them in and you listen to them, because they are there for your best interests, not to hurt you, not to give you a hard time. They are there to make you succeed.

‘Going through that tough time, understanding now, my whole team is very, very close, and I understand I don't pay my guys to give me yes answers. I pay them to tell me what's going on really in my life. And at that time, it was a tough time, but I'm glad I got through it and sitting here today, number one in the world.’

Two birdies on the last two holes lifted him to joint second with Adam Scott that day, with his 12 under par total a record for a first time participant at The Masters.

And it did prove a turning point, Day finishing second to Rory McIlroy in the US Open two months later. Now he is preparing for his sixth Masters, not only as the man in form and a man on top of the world but a man very much in love with the game again. Not to mention his wife.

TEE TIMES AND GROUPS 

Round 1

Group 1, 8:20am: Jim Herman, Steven Bowditch (Aus)

Group 2, 8:31am: Trevor Immelman (Rsa), Robert Streb, Derek Beard

Group 3, 8:42am: Larry Mize, Victor Dubuisson (Fra), Kevin Streelman

Group 4, 8:53am: Sandy Lyle (Sco), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Vaughn Taylor

Group 5, 9:04am: Webb Simpson, Chris Wood (Eng), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)

Group 6, 9:15am: Tom Watson, Charley Hoffman, Lee Westwood (Eng)

Group 7, 9:26am: Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Cheng-de Jin (Chn)

Group 8, 9:37am: Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Jason Dufner, Patrick Reed

Group 9: 9:48am: Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey (Eng), Bryson De Chambeau (a)

Group 10, 9:59am: Justin Thomas, Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Dustin Johnson

Group 11, 10:21am: Vijay Singh (Fij), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Chris Kirk

Group 12, 10:32am: Harris English, Andrew Sullivan (Eng), Kevin Na

Group 13, 10:43am: Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman (Aus), Henrik Stenson (Swe)

Group 14, 10:54am: Justin Rose (Eng), Jamie Donaldson (Wal), Daniel Berger

Group 15, 11:05am: Adam Scott (Aus), Kevin Kisner, Brooks Koepka

Group 16, 11:16am: Mike Weir (Can), Sammy Schmitz, Cameron Smith (Aus)

Group 17, 11:27am: Troy Merritt, Ian Woosnam (Wal), Byeong-Hun An (Kor)

Group 18, 11:38am: Darren Clarke (Nirl), Billy Horschel, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng)

Group 19, 11:49am: David Lingmerth (Swe), Mark O'Meara, Paul Chaplet (Crc)

Group 20, 12:00pm: Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha)

Group 21, 12:22pm: Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Davis Love III, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa)

Group 22, 12:33pm: Danny Lee (Nzl), Russell Knox (Sco), Smylie Kaufman

Group 23, 12:44pm: Branden Grace (Rsa), Bubba Watson, Ian Poulter (Eng)

Group 24, 12:55pm: Bernhard Langer (Ger), Hunter Mahan, Romain Langasque (a) (Fra)

Group 25, 1:06pm: Jason Day (Aus), Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els (Rsa)

Group 26, 1:17pm: Graeme McDowell (Nirl), Fabian Gomez (Arg), Scott Piercy

Group 27, 1:28pm: Jimmy Walker, Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Anirban Lahiri (Ind)

Group 28, 1:39pm: Daniel Willett (Eng), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Ryan Moore

Group 29, 1:50pm: Angel Cabrera (Arg), Shane Lowry (Irl), J.B. Holmes

Group 30, 2:01pm: Martin Kaymer (Ger), Bill Haas, Rory McIlroy (Nirl)

 

Round 2 

Group 1, 8:20am: Cameron Smith (Aus), Mike Weir (Can), Sammy Schmitz

Group 2, 8:31am: Ian Woosnam (Wal), Troy Merritt, Byeong-Hun An (Kor)

Group 3, 8:42am: Billy Horschel, Darren Clarke (Nirl), Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng)

Group 4, 8:53am: Mark O'Meara, David Lingmerth (Swe), Paul Chaplet (Crc)

Group 5, 9:04am: Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha)

Group 6, 9:15am: Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Davis Love III, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa)

Group 7, 9:26am: Russell Knox (Sco), Danny Lee (Nzl), Smylie Kaufman

Group 8, 9:37am: Bubba Watson, Branden Grace (Rsa), Ian Poulter (Eng)

Group 9, 9:48am: Bernhard Langer (Ger), Hunter Mahan, Romain Langasque (a) (Fra)

Group 10, 9:59am: Jason Day (Aus), Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els (Rsa)

Group 11, 10:21am: Graeme McDowell (Nirl), Fabian Gomez (Arg), Scott Piercy

Group 12, 10:32am: Jimmy Walker, Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Anirban Lahiri (Ind)

Group 13, 10:43am: Daniel Willett (Eng), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Ryan Moore

Group 14, 10:54am: Angel Cabrera (Arg), Shane Lowry (Irl), J.B. Holmes

Group 15, 11:05am: Bill Haas, Martin Kaymer (Ger), Rory McIlroy (Nirl)

Group 16, 11:16am: Jim Herman, Steven Bowditch (Aus)

Group 17, 11:27am: Trevor Immelman (Rsa), Robert Streb, Derek Bard

Group 18, 11:38am: Larry Mize, Victor Dubuisson (Fra), Kevin Streelman

Group 19, 11:49am: Sandy Lyle (Sco), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Vaughn Taylor

Group 20, 12:00pm: Webb Simpson, Chris Wood (Eng), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)

Group 21, 12:22pm: Tom Watson, Charley Hoffman, Lee Westwood (Eng)

Group 22, 12:33pm: Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Cheng-de Jin (Chn)

Group 23, 12:44pm: Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Jason Dufner, Patrick Reed

Group 24, 12:55pm: Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey (Eng), Bryson De Chambeau (a)

Group 25, 1:06pm: Justin Thomas, Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Dustin Johnson

Group 26, 1:17pm: Vijay Singh (Fij), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Chris Kirk

Group 27, 1:28pm: Harris English, Andrew Sullivan (Eng), Kevin Na

Group 28, 1:39pm: Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman (Aus), Henrik Stenson (Swe)

Group 29, 1:50pm: Justin Rose (Eng), Jamie Donaldson (Wal), Daniel Berger

Group 30, 2:01pm: Kevin Kisner, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott (Aus)

*All tee times in local Eastern Time (ET) 

*USA unless stated 

*(x) denotes amateurs 

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06 April 2016, 10:26