08/16/2015

To fully understand what this Jason Day win means to Day and his camp, one must understand his roots. His background. His beginnings.

Jason Day didn’t come from the fortunate American country club background, nor did he come from a middle-class family of love and support. Day’s youth and upbringing was broken, inconsistent and troubling. Shane Ryan makes an account for it all in his book “Slaying the Tiger.”

In Day’s past lie stories of a poor Australian family with a young boy named Jason. He would lose his father. He would be the victim of bullying. He would experience a childhood complete with instability and hurt. His tragic story goes beyond the losing of family members in a typhoon last year.

His is not exactly the recipe for a champion.

You look today and see, yeah, he’s got the trophy wife. His adorable son accompanies him on the green of every win. He’s got it all. But it’s true with a balance of perspective prior to it all.

His story is almost that of an Arnold Palmer. Palmer, who grew up in a town in Pennsylvania called Latrobe, was never afforded the opportunity to enjoy golf the way his peers at the time did. Palmer’s family didn’t have the means to provide him the usual care and attention champion golfers receive. Palmer’s way was through the dirt. The same as Lee Trevino’s. The same as now, Jason Day’s (I really encourage you all to read Shane Ryan’s account of Jason Day…in the meantime though, this New York Times piece does the job).

It’s easy to understand the tears from Mr. Day, as his family ambushed him on the 18th green at Whistling Straits. He was a man from nothing, who in golf found everything, but at age 27 felt though it he hadn’t received anything.

Sure, the millions of dollars bankrolled were glorious and afforded him the pleasures of life, but with Day’s undeniable talent, more was expected. He had enjoyed what gifts his talent had awarded him and now it was time for pay back. Time to pay the piper. Time to claim that major championship.

It was in the Masters in 2011 where Day’s first hopes for capturing a major came to the forefront of the public’s eye. His technically sound swing, combined with such shear, unaltered power seemed like it was destined for greatness, as it was truly, one of the most violent and graceful in the world of golf.

Day has the same violence and control that Tiger Woods exhibited 15 years earlier.

But since, he’s been riddled with close call after close call. His talent left us thirsty for more.

An excerpted quote from Morfit’s 2007 article talks about the extensiveness nature of Day talent:

“I played with Jason when he was 16 in the Aussie Open,” says Jarrod Lyle, a 26-year-old touring pro who lives a few minutes from Day in the Bay Hill neighborhood of Orlando. “Some of the shots he played around the green were just unbelievable. I walked off that course thinking he’s got one of the greatest short games I’ve ever seen.”

In so many ways, he’s the same as Woods: The short game, the poise. And, so far, the results.

And Morfit wasn’t the only to document the spectacle that was Jason Day.

Jason Day’s golf game is a complete package. Check his stats. He does it all. How about this week’s stat line? Sure, Jordan Spieth is golf’s golden boy, the number one player in the world, but as far as balanced golf games go, Day’s is second to none.

Here was what I had to say after Jason Day’s win at the Canadian Open a few weeks back:

But for Jason Day, the champion who would hole a series of clutch putts coming it, the win means more than it may appear in the midst of the Hearn/Canadian heartbreak. After a close call at the US Open and another a month later at St. Andrews, Day broke through.

Called one of the next great champions of our era, critics have been quick to point out Day’s lack of hardware before the age of 25. Three big wins in 17 months and contention throughout the world should quiet them down at least for a little while, until that major championship void continues to expand.

But he’ll win a major (multiple probably), almost assuredly. But’s that neither here nor there. This win was another pivotal step in Jason Day’s career. It is one, I’m sure, he’s relishing after so many close calls recently.

The putts down the stretch (which you can watch below) will be putts he reflects back on in contention down the road at Augusta and other majors. This will be one of the moments we look back on and say, “I think that’s where Jason really found that killer instinct.”

He found that killer instinct and applied it fast. Then he rode it off into the sunset, this week on the shores of Lake Michigan…

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My prediction from before the 2015 PGA in my preview:

The Wanamaker Trophy Owner

Jason Day

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Aside from a final round 74, Day was perfectly in contention last time around at Whistling Straits in 2010.  His third round 66 was second to only the course record that day fired by Liang.

His blistering play so far this year has been stamped with two wins. He’s a threat to win every time he tees it up and I believe even more so this week. Number 1 in birdie average on the year, Day is also the #2 long-baller on Tour and a top-10 in total strokes gained.

Top-10s in both Open championships this year– the US and British– have Day poised at the door of major glory. Not with a pitchfork or a fist, but with a massive bludgening club. He’s ready to knock the door down. And he’s going to do so.

Jason Day, a major winner in 2015.