‘Jason needs him. He’s all over the spot at the moment’
JACK Newton is hoping hard-nosed caddy Steve Williams can be the man to jolt Jason Day back into British Open contention.
For all his achievements elsewhere, including spending almost a year as world No.1 after he won the 2015 US PGA Championship, Day has only ever been in the Open mix on the back nine on the final day once.
So Newton has applauded Day's decision to lure Williams out of cosy retirement in New Zealand in a concerted effort to reprise his glory days of regularly competing for golf's greatest spoils.
Day dubbed Williams "the boss" before the accomplished former caddy of Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd - who also helped Adam Scott win the 2013 Masters - debuted on his bag at last month's US Open at Pebble Beach.
Newton believes that's exactly the type of character Day needs to put the fire back in the 31-year-old's belly.
"He caddied me for a couple of times and he's pretty strict on the way he wants to approach it and carry the bag," Newton said.
"Jason probably needs him. He's all over the spot at the moment. I don't quite get it because he's a damn good player and he's not doing what he should be doing, in other words.
"But he's got Steve Williams as his advisor. I guess it's going to take a bit of time to get used to it but I think it will be good for him, particularly so that the head doesn't fly off because sometimes it does."
A huge believer in Day since the former world junior champion's teenage days, Newton said juggling family life with golf may have contributed to the one-time perennial major contender losing some of his edge.
But the father of three did show signs of his old self with a top-five finish at the Masters and has promised Williams he'll do "whatever" he's asked to to return to his winning ways and ultimately world No.1.
"You've got to probably look to how to make the best effort on the golf course as well as with the kids, which is sometimes not easy to do," Newton said.
"It's just how he can sort it out. He's a very good player when he's on his game."
Runner-up at the 1975 Open after losing a playoff with Tom Watson, and also second at the 1980 Masters, Newton thinks Williams' vast experience will offer Day another big advantage around Royal Portrush this week.
The Open hasn't been staged at the famous Northern Ireland links course in 68 years and rain forecast for all four days will only make the largely unfamiliar layout even more of a test.
"It's probably a course you need to know, especially if it gets a bit gusty with the weather," Newton said.
"The biggest thing is going to be knowing the golf course and most of them have never, ever played there in a tournament.
"So having an experienced caddy will absolutely, absolutely be a huge help."