15 Apr 2024 | Professional golf |

Jason Day declares his Olympic ambition

by Tony Webeck

Jason Day Australian fans
Jason Day has confirmed his desire to wear the green and gold and represent Australia at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris: Credit: Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

Australia’s No.1-ranked male golfer has confirmed that he “made a mistake” by not competing at the 2016 Olympic Games and wants to make amends at Paris 2024.

Currently ranked No.21 in the world, Jason Day closed out his 2024 Masters Tournament with a round of 3-under 69 that is projected to see him finish in a tie for 30th.

It may be enough to move back inside the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking and, barring something extraordinary from his fellow countrymen, ensure he will don the green and gold at Le Golf National in August.

Since his resurgence the past 18 months, Day’s status as a potential Olympian has been a point of conjecture.

He was among a number of Aussie male golfers who chose to skip golf’s Olympic return in Rio eight years ago, citing concerns over the Zika virus and family.

The 36-year-old has been in regular contact with Australian Olympic Golf Captain, Karrie Webb, without publicly declaring his availability.

Less than four months before competition begins, that conjecture has now been put to bed.

“I’ll play. If I’m in, I’ll play for sure,” confirmed Day, pictured after winning the 2013 World Cup with Adam Scott at Royal Melbourne.

“I’m looking forward to it. I think I made a bit of a mistake not going down to Rio, even though part of it was family related.

“I kind of missed out on that, and I probably should have gone. But if I get the opportunity, I’m looking forward to going.”

If the Australian Olympic golf team were to be selected this week Min Woo Lee would be Day’s teammate in Paris.

The former world No.1 said that he has no preference for who he pairs with in Paris, acknowledging that Cameron Smith is reliant on strong showings in the majors given his commitment to LIV Golf.

“Whoever is playing the great, that would be great,” said Day.

“Min Woo is playing good solid golf, too. And obviously ‘Smithy’, playing in LIV, you don’t get World Ranking points. He needs to play well in the major championships, trying to shoot himself up the leaderboard.”

Entering the week feeling the effects of a broken finger, Min Woo Lee also signed off from The Masters with a round of 3-under 69.

Shortly after completing his round, he was told of his potential pairing with Day in Paris.

“When you’re a professional, you don’t really get to represent the Australian side,” said the world No.32.

“Obviously every week, week in and week out you represent Aus, but when you’re an amateur, I got to play for Australia a lot of times. I do miss putting on the green and gold.

“Jason as a playing partner and a teammate, that will be really special.

“My sister (Minjee Lee) is going to be in there, too, so it will be an unbelievable experience.

“Hopefully it can stay this way and I can play.”

Day had four birdies and a lone bogey in his final round of the 2024 championship at Augusta National, the highlight a near ace at the par-3 16th.

He hopes it will provide the foundation for a strong summer of majors and, ultimately, Australia’s first Olympic golf medal.

“The short game’s nice. Putting’s nice,” Day added.

“I just made too many cheap errors out there, not enough capitalisation on the opportunities that I had, especially with the par-5s. And then just soft bogeys.

“Just kind of clean that up, tighten the swing up a little bit, and I should be good to go.”

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