Day backs fallen idol Woods

Jason Day (AFP)
Jason Day (AFP)

St Andrews - Australian Jason Day is backing former world number one Tiger Woods to arrest his slide after getting a close-up view of his idol and playing partner's 76 in the Open Championship first round on Thursday.

The 39-year-old American's round was littered with errant strokes as he plunged to a four-over-par score on the same St Andrews layout where he claimed the coveted Claret Jug in 2000 and 2005.

Woods has slumped from first to 241st in the rankings in the last 14 months but Day feels it is simply a matter of time before the 14-times major winner turns the corner.

"I grew up watching him," Day told reporters after a six-under 66 helped him move within one stroke of early leader Dustin Johnson of the U.S.

"He's why I chased the dream of becoming a professional. It's tough but the good thing about it is I saw him struggle before and he came back and got to number one.

"I know he can get back out of this. It's just dependent on how much he wants it."

Drawn in the same group on Thursday as Woods and 2010 St Andrews champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa seemed to be just what the doctor ordered for Day.

"I was playing with the last two winners here of the Open championship and I knew there was going to be a lot of eyes on me," said the 26-year-old from Queensland. "I just wanted to make sure I played solid."

Day had a health scare last month when he collapsed to the ground following an attack of vertigo during the US Open at Chambers Bay.

"I'm not thinking about falling over on my face again," he said. "It's good, I'm not worrying about it and I feel healthy.

"Speaking with my docs and being on this medicine that I'm on right now definitely helps. I know if I have it, it takes a couple days to get rid of, but obviously it's not great to have it in tournaments.

"If it comes, it comes. I can't really control it. That's the unfortunate thing."

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