When Australian golfer Jason Day looks at the past, he gets depressed.
And when he looks to the future, he says he gets anxiety.
“So I can only control what I can do right now and just focus on being present as much as I can,” Day told reporters on Friday.
Day will play his first tournament of the year next week at Torrey Pines, a PGA Tour event he has won twice.
But those 2015 and 2018 wins – and claiming the world No.1 ranking in September 2015 – seem a lifetime ago for Day.
Hampered since by ongoing back injuries, the Australian is now ranked 43rd in the world – a status that stings for a major champion with 12 US tour wins to his name.
“If I look at my world ranking, that is the biggest motivation for me right now,” Day said.
“I understand I am there for a reason. But I know that I am better than that.
“My big inspiration behind that is to try and get back to No.1 … I have the game to do it, it’s developing nicely, I have just got to stay healthy.
“It would be nice to put this (back problem) in the rear-view mirror.”
Day admits the back issues sapped his enjoyment of golf.
“Being the competitor that I am and not living up to what you should be living up to is very frustrating,” he said.
But the 33-year-old believed he had turned a proverbial corner since recent tinkering with his swing and exercise regime.
“I haven’t hit the gym and lifted weights for probably a year and a half now, I have just been trying to work on mobility,” he said.
“I have been working on my swing and working on my body to try and alleviate some of the pain … things are coming along.
“What excites me is the stuff I am working on right now, if I do it correctly, it doesn’t hurt my back one bit at all.
“The hard part is really nailing it … it may come and go and I have just got to be really patient.”
Day said close friend Tiger Woods, who last week had his fifth microdiscectomy surgery on his back, was a cautionary tale.
“I totally understand what he’s going through,” Day said.
“He’s to the point now where I don’t know how many surgeries this is, but I’m definitely trying to stay away from that type of ‘wow’ in regards to where my career is going in surgeries.
“I want to stay as healthy as possible and hopefully if I do the right thing it actually extends my career.”