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Jason Day an 'Australian icon': Ernie Els

Ernie Els says he'd love to see a big year on the PGA Tour from former world No.1 Jason Day, who will be a crowd favourite at the Presidents Cup in Melbourne.

Jason Day an 'Australian icon': Ernie Els

Ernie Els says he'd love to see a big year on the PGA Tour from former world No.1 Jason Day, who will be a crowd favourite at the Presidents Cup in Melbourne.

ERNIE ELS of South Africa plays his shot from the sixth tee during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.
ERNIE ELS of South Africa plays his shot from the sixth tee during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. Picture:Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Ernie Els has encouraged "Australian icon" Jason Day to have another huge year on the US PGA Tour and ensure a rock star reception when he arrives at the Presidents Cup in Melbourne in December.

Els will captain the International team against rival skipper Tiger Woods when the biennial teams event is staged at Royal Melbourne Golf Club from December 12-15.


Day will make his fifth appearance for the International side and is sure to be a crowd favourite when the former major winner and world No.1 tees up at the venue where he won the 2013 World Cup of Golf title.

Day is currently world No.11 and a good chance to remain the International side's highest-ranked eligible player through the end of the year.

The 31-year-old won twice on the PGA Tour last year and earned a legion of fans between 2015 and 2016 when he won seven titles in 17 starts.

Four-time major winner Els said the Queenslander could lift the Presidents Cup atmosphere in Melbourne if he compiles another hot season in the US.

"If he can really perform, (come down) to Australia and people get behind him as an Australian icon, which he has already become, man it would be great for himself and for the country and for the team," Els told AAP at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

"I'd love for him to have a good week at Royal Melbourne for him and his family."

However, Els acknowledged the top-ranked player on the struggling International team was usually burdened by huge expectations.

The International side has won just once, at Royal Melbourne in 1998, in Presidents Cup history.

Day was world No.2 at the 2015 Presidents Cup and was the International side's biggest star alongside Japan's Hideki Matsuyama at the 2017 edition in New York.

But Day has not lived up to his billing, winning just seven points from 20 total matches in his four Presidents Cup appearances.

"I understand the pressure; I was the top dog in the team a few times and there are a lot of expectations on you, not only from the team but outside influences," Els said.

"But I know how much having a good Presidents Cup can really benefit a player going forward and I'd love to see that from Jason in Melbourne."

Day will tee it up at this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Florida looking to repeat his 2016 victory at the event.

Day will be joined in the field by 2017 Bay Hill champion and fellow Australian Marc Leishman, as well as Victorian Aaron Baddeley.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational is one of the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour, offering winners a three-year exemption on tour and a $US9.1 million purse.

AAP


AAP




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