Remember those days when Tiger Woods would snag the lead in a tournament, and it was essentially over? He had that ability to hold on once he tasted that first position. Jason Day’s performance this week reminded me of that. After a bogey free 9-under 63 in the first round at TPC Sawgrass, there was reason for the viewers to believe that he wouldn’t give it up. Friday was more of the same with a 6-under 66 putting him 4 shots up going into the weekend.
Despite the course playing extremely tough Saturday and Sunday, the 28-year-old Australian remained steady, hitting 2 iron (which still went a respectable 260 yards) off tees and not trying to do too much. He shot even par for the weekend, which still resulted in a 4 shot victory over the closest competitor, Kevin Chappell.
Dominating quietly, Day has been on a torrid pace up the world rankings. His demeanor makes him very different than the likes of Jordan Speith, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler. “I mean Rory, Rickie are very popular. They’re the popular kids in school. Jordan is getting that popular, starting to become a lot more popular and I’m just a nerd in the back which is fine.” The win at The Players was Day’s 2nd wire-to-wire win of the season, making him the 2nd person in PGA history during the last 35 years to have multiple wire-to-wire victories in a season…the other? Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.
Jason Day has won seven of the last 17 tournaments he has played in. How ridiculous is that? He’s finished outside of the top 25…Once!! “He has a very strong desire to achieve so much, and I think probably his goals are changing throughout this period and he is expecting more and more of himself,” said Aussie counterpart Adam Scott.
So, Day will most likely represent Australia in the Olympics and probably will be the favorite coming into the US Open at Oakmont in June, what keeps him grounded during this incredible run? His family. His wife Ellie, son Dash (Dash Day, what a name) and daughter Lucy have been there every step of the way including celebrating Jason’s 10th PGA Tour win yesterday. Life seems pretty good for Day, but don’t expect him to settle.
The OWGR (official world golf rankings) have Day with a sizable lead above Jordan Speith, who has almost the same lead on Rory McIlroy who is in 3rd. Jason has some wiggle room to mess up, but don’t bank on it. With his dominance over these last two seasons, don’t expect that #1 spot to change for a while.