Jason Day is pictured during practice for the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
Jason Day is pictured during practice for the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. ERIK S. LESSER

Day sets sights on reclaiming top spot in rankings

GOLF: Champion Jason Day has set his sights on reeling in world No.1 Dustin Johnson ahead of his Players Championship defence at TPC Sawgrass starting tomorrow morning (EST).

Johnson has been in the form of his life, winning three US PGA Tour tournaments in a row before pulling out of the US Masters with a back injury following a fall downstairs in Atlanta.

The American returned to action last week and just missed a fourth tour title, finishing runner-up at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Johnson ended Day's 47-week reign as No.1 in February and has since increased his rankings lead over world No.2 Rory McIlroy to five points, with Day now at No.3.

The Australian said catching Johnson would be a tough task if he carried on playing the way he was but he was determined to get his season on track after a season-best's fifth place finish at Pebble Beach.

"Dustin is playing pretty well. It's pretty hard to keep up when (he) hits it 350 yards, flicks it on with a wedge and holes all the putts," Day said.

"But I'm trying to focus on getting back to that winning form, the practice workload I was doing (as No.1) and hopefully the results will come after that."

Day has had a tough season so far and missed a big chunk due to his mother's cancer diagnosis.

"For a moment, I lost the desire to be world No.1; I was mentally burnt out. Now, I'm in a rebuilding stage to try and get back to the top," he said.

"I would do anything in the world to get back because there's no better feeling than being the best."

The 29-year-old Queenslander said the memories of last year's win at the tournament considered to be the fifth major could be just the thing he needs to reboot his season.

"It's obviously pretty special to come back as defending champion," Day said.

"This feels like a major to me, so my expectation is heightened when when I come into an event like this."

TPC Sawgrass has undergone a few design changes and Day will be joined at the famed Florida layout by fellow Australians Adam Scott, Cameron Smith, Rod Pampling, Greg Chalmers and Aaron Baddeley.