By Bernie McGuire
(Reuters) - World number three Jason Day has asked fans back home to understand his reasons for missing this year's Australian Open in Sydney.
The Australian won his first major when he claimed the U.S. PGA Championship title at Whistling Straits last month.
Since then the Ohio-based Day has gone top of the PGA Tour's FedExCup standings after winning his next event, The Barclays in New Jersey, by a runaway six-stroke margin.
However, Day's wife Ellie is expecting the couple's second child later this year and the 27-year-old has reluctantly ruled himself out of the Australian Open that starts on Nov. 26.
"I don't feel as though I am under any pressure to return to Australia
given I won the PGA Championship and I am just hoping everyone back home will understand my situation," Day told Reuters in an interview.
"I just want to make sure I am there for Ellie and that she has my support when she has our second child."
Day's wife is due to give birth in late November or early December and he said there would be plenty more Australian Opens for him to play in looking ahead.
"Australia is a great sporting nation and I know only too well how much they love their champions and while I may not be back home competing this year I am far from done in terms of seeking to win the Australian Open, the Australian PGA or the Australian Masters," he said.
"They are the events every Australian-born golfer would love to win in their career and I’m no different.
"While I won’t be competing in the Australian Open later this year I am hoping I will have many more Australian Opens ahead of me."
Day last competed on home soil when he shared sixth place behind winner Rory McIlroy at the 2013 Australian Open in Sydney.
A week earlier he teamed up with Adam Scott to win the World Cup for his country at Royal Melbourne while Day also landed the individual low score title.
Day was due to join Scott, McIlroy and eventual champion Jordan Spieth in last year's Australian Open but pulled out with a back injury.
The Australian Masters will be held in Oakleigh South, Victoria from Nov. 19-22 while the Australian PGA Championship is to be played in Ashmore, Queensland from Dec. 3-6.
Sandwiched in between, the Australian Open will be staged at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney for an unprecedented 19th time.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)