You might think that all golfers walk into the sport with millions already in their pockets, but this definitely wasn’t the case for Australian Jason Day.
From a troubled childhood, battling personal tragedy and alcoholism, it hasn’t been an easy ride to the top for Jason Day.
Unlike lots of professional golfers who are often born into the sport, Day came from a poor family with a difficult upbringing. Jason was introduced to the game at the age of six when his father picked him out a rusty 3-wood at a rubbish tip, and even built him his own putting green at their family home.
Day took to the game naturally and showed lots of promise as a junior golfer. However Jason lost his father to stomach cancer when he was just 12 years old, struggling to cope, Day turned to the sauce…
Jason turned into a rebellious teenager that partied hard, got into fights and was constantly in trouble at school. His mother knew he had potential as a golfer and made a desperate choice.
Dening had to take out a second mortgage on her home and enlisted the help from one of Jason’s uncles which allowed her to send Jason to a boarding school. It was here that Day was able to turn his life around…
His new school was in the middle of nowhere, many of the pupils had been sent by parents who wanted to get rid of them, and others were promising athletes hoping to turn professional. The culture, and the lack of surrounding temptations, made it easy for him to stop drinking and focus.
“It was very easy to stop partying because there was nothing else to do except go to school and golf. There was literally nothing around us, So I was pretty much forced to go to school and golf. And I realised what my mom had done, and that I needed an education.”
A book on Tiger Woods also gave Jason the motivation he needed to become the golfer that he is today. Reading about Tiger’s achievements at such a young age inspired Day to practice, practice, practice.
Day put in all of this hard work and it paid of in 2006 when he turned professional after winning the Australian Masters of the Amateurs. He earned his PGA Tour card in 2008 and after a mediocre first season, he hit the big time in 2010 with his first event win.
Day faced troubles in his professional career with injury setbacks and battling with vertigo. This lead to many Major near misses where he came so close but couldn’t find the finishing touches to his game.
Recording nine top 10 finishes in majors including three runner-up finishes (2011, 2013 US Opens and 2011 Masters).
The run of near misses led to questions about Day’s mental strength, but using the lessons learned over his difficult carreer, it finally all fell into place for him this weekend at Whistling Straits.
His relief was clear to see on the 18th green as burst into to tears before he had a chance to tap in the winning putt and warmly embraced Swatton and his beloved wife and son.
An amazing story and a great inspiration to all young athletes.