Honesty is always appreciated by the media, and fans, when interviewing players.
So, too, are players who are willing to make themselves available to talk on a range of topics at the drop of a hat, allowing readers and viewers insights into the game and life at the top.
It is one of the reasons this correspondent utters the comment “Scott Hend is one of my favourite interviews in golf” with regularity.
However, for some players, there is time when perhaps a more considered and planned approach might prove a better policy.
Jason Day, providing a perfect example of this just last week.
The Ohio-based Queenslander’s history of playing, or not playing, golf in his homeland is well documented.
There has only been three Australian Open starts since turning professional, and a lone Australian PGA Championship appearance.
The reasons for Day’s lack of Australian appearances have been varied from injury, including last year’s withdrawal from the Australian Open – where he had been the main draw according to promotional material – and the Presidents Cup after succumbing to his troublesome back to personal reasons and unexplained absences.
The reasons, at times, have been perfectly understandable and to be believed, unless you wish to question Day’s motive.
However, the repeated no shows have left a sour taste in the mouth of many in Australian golf, both fans and industry members.
It is true that Day still has his legion of Aussie fans, and rightfully so.
The 32-year-old is a major champion, Players Championship winner, former World No.1 and among the best putters to have played the game professionally in the last 10 years.
Day also remains close with many of his compatriots, including fellow professional Aaron Pike who played host to the 2015 US PGA Championship winner at his house in Brisbane when Day last played the Australian Open, former Hills International College roommate Luke Reardon, who caddies for Day and a number of others.
"His comments regarding returning home to play our biggest tournaments this year seem to be jumping the gun at best, and perhaps getting an excuse in early at worst."
Despite this, the majority of Australian fans seemingly – at least those willing to share their views on social media – have lost patience with Day.
Last week, Golf Australia magazine Architecture Editor Mike Clayton made headlines with his comments about our top players returning to play the Australian Open and PGA this year if they go ahead.
"The thing we ought to be able to do this year for the Australian Open is to impress upon our best players in America how important it is to come here and play without demanding a fortune in appearance money, if anything," Clayton said on Golf Australia's Inside the Ropes podcast.
"For the amazing living those four of five guys have made out of the game, this is one time we need them to come back and support the Australian Open and PGA without having to write a big cheque for them to turn up."
Within the next 24 hours, Day (as well as Marc Leishman) had responded via AAP’s PGA Tour reporter Evin Priest, with the former citing a November Masters Tournament in Augusta, the week prior to when the Australian Open would likely have been played pre-coronavirus, as an issue perhaps hindering his return for his national open.
"With regards to Mike Clayton's comments, I understand where he is coming from because some of the Aussie guys get paid to go down there," Day told AAP.
"But I have to play my minimum 20 (US Tour) events to fulfil contracts and if I play the Masters at Augusta and still have three events to play, it may put (my) Australian Open in jeopardy."
Maybe it’s time @GolfAust looked at a more reliable representative for their #mygolf ambassador roles. Having someone that comes home and can represent the growth of the game for the younger players would be a better bet. Players in person is better than those on a website.— daniel fox (@danielfoxwin) May 7, 2020
Day is being blatantly honest. A valued trait.
However, as exclusively covered on this website early last week, with the likelihood of travel restrictions still in place and the possibility of no fans being allowed at Kingston Heath in 2020, a February 2021 Australian Open is a significant possibility.
Day speaking with AAP to reply to Clayton is to be appreciated.
To make the comment six months out from the tournament – which has never had an official date in place – that an appearance seems unlikely, when the world, restrictions and Tour schedules are changing day-by-day was not well received by the golfing masses.
“Every year there's an excuse,” Gavin Headland commented on the Golf Australia magazine Facebook page.
“Seriously who cares? Talk about Cam Smith, Scotty, Leishman, etc. I remember as a kid the Shark would turn up in Australia year after year. Jason Day different story and quite frankly he will be lucky to play the 20 rounds in the USA to keep his card,” Tony Llyod added.
“I don’t think anyone expected J.Day to play in Aust. He very rarely shows up, so we have moved on,” said Gerard Meares, echoing the majority of the opinions shared on our social media platforms.
Day has always been an engaging interview subject, welcoming on occasion to a one-on-one chat at tournaments as important as The Masters in the days leading up to the event. He clearly is willing to talk to members of the media he regularly deals with in America to the benefit of all interested observers, particularly those in Australia.
Despite this, his comments regarding returning home to play our biggest tournaments this year seem to be jumping the gun at best, and perhaps getting an excuse in early at worst.
Playing in this country is Jason’s choice, whether he takes on Clayton’s advice is also his own decision.
Given the current climate, with a young family and American born wife, the decision to stay stateside due to fears relating to health would likely be accepted by most.
To cite financial relationships with sponsors as the reason to potentially miss tournaments back home certainly won’t be.
Here’s hoping if the Australian Open does move away from the unlikely date immediately following The Masters we hear something quickly from Jason changing his tune.
If not, it unfortunately might be the final straw for home fans’ unwavering support for a player who has at times shown potential to be one of best ever.