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Incentives for Jason Day

September 8, 2016

World number one Jason Day heads into his title defence at this week's BMW Championship in Indiana with one eye firmly fixed on Player of the Year honours as he bids for his fourth PGA Tour win of the season.

The Australian is effectively vying with second-ranked American Dustin Johnson for the coveted accolade and has targeted at least one victory in the final two FedExCup playoff events to make his case.

Once the season is over, the PGA Tour rank and file will vote for their Player of the Year where Day and Johnson, a double champion in 2016, are the top two contenders.

"It's been a good, solid year," Day, whose three wins this season came in a sizzling run of just six starts, told reporters while preparing for Thursday's opening round at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel.

"Everything can't be the gold standard for what I did last year. If I can win one of the next two (playoff events), that will kind of solidify the Player of the Year, which is obviously on my mind."

Day triumphed five times on the PGA Tour last season and can consider himself unfortunate to be edged out by Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Masters and U.S. Open champion, for Player of the Year honours.

Though his three victories this year outnumber the two claimed by Johnson, the long-hitting American holds an edge when it comes to 'elite' wins given that he has landed a major (the U.S. Open) and a WGC title (the Bridgestone Invitational).

Day, who triumphed by a commanding six strokes when the BMW Championship was held at Conway Farms in Illinois last year, is overall happy with how he has performed this season after a banner 2015 campaign.

"To be able to go five wins (in 2015) and then three wins in the next season after having such a big season the year prior, I think I did a pretty good job," he said on the eve of the third of the PGA Tour's four playoff events.

World number three Rory McIlroy was also oozing confidence after climbing to fourth in the FedExCup standings with his two-shot victory on Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

"I'm excited to get back to Crooked Stick," said the Northern Irishman, who won the BMW Championship when it was first held at the venue in 2012.

"Hopefully I can continue the form that I showed last week ... I'm feeling good about my game, feeling good to come back to a place where I've had good memories."

While 70 players qualified for the BMW Championship, only the leading 30 in the FedExCup standings after this week's event will advance to the Sep. 22-25 Tour Championship finale in Atlanta.

Consequently, the BMW Championship will be a nail biter for American Matt Kuchar (28th) and Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas (29th), plus American Brooks Koepka who sits right on the bubble at 30th.

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