Jason Day admitted that the pressures of life and golf got to him when he entered the 2017 season as the Official World Golf Rankings No.1 player. His mother’s health was looming over his head along with the fact that he was at the pinnacle of golf.
“My mum getting lung cancer was very difficult,” Day told reporters on Tuesday last week. “I don’t have any grandparents. I don’t have my dad. I don’t have anyone. If I lost my mum all I would have would be my two sisters.”
His mother successfully underwent surgery and is recovering now.
“Hopefully the distractions that I’ve had on the golf course and off the golf course can go away, and I can start focusing on getting back to climbing back to No. 1,” he said. “I think I was a little burnt out from 2015 and 2016. I did not know how to handle being No. 1 at that time. The next time I get there, I will handle it a little bit differently.”
With those pressures and anxiety dismissed from his life, Day may be able to reach that World No.1 ranking in 2018. He ascended quickly over the last couple years, winning five times in 2015 and three times in 2016. He is still searching for his first victory since the 2016 Players Championship.
He may have gone winless last season, but he scored big-time off the course. On January 1 of this year, Nike announced that they would partner with Day on an endorsement deal north of $100 million. Prior to this deal, Day swung TaylorMade clubs and repped Adidas apparel.
Day has continued to swing TaylorMade clubs but will be repping Nike from now until his contract is up with The Swoosh. The details of the contract were never released but Day should be receiving upwards of $10 million per season to rep his new endorser.
It Begins: PGA Tour Card
Day turned professional after winning the NEC Master of Amateurs in July of 2006. He declared that he would be turning pro after the tournament in conjunction with signing his first endorsement deals with TaylorMade and Adidas.
Day qualified for Q School but was unable to get his PGA Tour card after the 2006 season. He did qualify to play on the Nationwide Tour in 2007 and ended up finishing fifth on the money list which earned him his PGA Tour card for the 2008 season.
First Victory And Those That Followed
Jason Day struggled through his first couple years on the PGA Tour but finally broke through with his first victory in 2010 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. A then 22-year-old Day had missed five cuts leading up to this tournament, but he wasn’t fazed by the adversity.
Day shot 10-under for the tournament posting scores of 66-65-67-72, winning the event by two strokes. He would ride that momentum into his first major tournament two months later at The Open. Greg Norman withdrew from the tournament, giving Day a chance to compete for the Claret Jug at St. Andrews that year.
Day finished third but the experience of his first major was helpful because a little over a month later, Day would find himself finishing ninth at the PGA Championship. His stock was indeed on the rise from that point forward.
He carried that wave of success into 2011 where he shot 12-under at the 2011 Masters, which would set the record for the lowest score for a first-time participant. His lowe score would be good enough for a T-2 finish in golf’s Super Bowl.
That same season, Day finished alone in second place at the U.S. Open behind a young star named Rory McIlroy. Day’s second consecutive runner-up finish would crack the top-10 of the OWGR, claiming his spot at No.9. Day fell out of the top-10 in the beginning of 2012, but he has become a staple in the top-10 since the middle of 2015.
Drama On And Off The Course:
The only notable drama Day has dealt with was when he and his wife sat courtside for a Cavaliers basketball game in 2015. During the game, Lebron James went for a loose ball that was headed towards the stands and he happened to crash into Ellie Day as he tried to keep the ball in-bounds.
Jason was fine but Ellie suffered some minor injuries but she said it felt like she was getting hit by a car. Day’s wife was extremely gracious about the accident and assured the fans and James that she was OK and that there was zero ill-will toward The King.
— Ellie Day (@ellielaneday) December 18, 2015
Ellie Day I hope you're doing okay! My apologies! Hope u guys come back to another game soon. Love LJ!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 18, 2015
Stats And Where They Are Now:
As of Wednesday, Day is still in the top-10 of the OWGR sitting at No.9. He had five top-10 finishes in 2017, his best was a runner-up finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May.
In 2017, Day had a scoring average of 70.115 (24th on the PGA Tour). He cracked the top-30 on the money list (28th overall) by earning $2.9 million last season. And he finished 15th on the PGA tour in total shots-gained with 1.069.
What The Future Holds:
It seems like Day has been on the PGA Tour for a while now but he will only be turning 30 this November, and there is a lot of great golf left in his system. We can chalk 2017 up as a learning year for Day who combatted family issues and the pressures of being World No.1.
The 2018 season could be a very special one not just for the Aussie, but the entire PGA Tour. Day, Dustin Johnson, and Rory McIlroy will all be back healthy to take on the young-guns like Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. The fans can expect Sunday afternoons to be full of drama and excitement, and Jason Day will play a huge part in that.