Date: September 08, 2016
Author: Bernie McGuire, Indianapolis

Day’s year timely reminder of class

Jason Day’s picture proudly holding last year’s gleaming trophy graces the front cover of this week’s BMW Championship program.

On page 22 is the feature story headlined “Exceptional Day”.

Victory at this event on September 25, 2015, not only presented day with a second straight FedEx Cup playoff title, but also assured the Queenslander the world No. 1 crown.

Day had virtually wrapped-up last year’s championship after just two days at Conway Farms, signing for rounds of 61 and 63 to tie the PGA Tour’s 36-hole scoring record of 124. He added back-to-back 69s at the weekend to cruise to victory by six shots.

Rewind eight years to 2008 when Day gained his US PGA Tour card.  He hosted a conference call with members of the Australian media while sitting in his mother’s bedroom and declared he wanted to surpass Tiger Woods as world No.1 – and sooner than later.

Day later said he thought to himself, “That might not go over so well”.

It was later again he revealed that he and coach Col Swatton had drawn up a plan to achieve that by age 22.

By the time he turned 22 on November 12, 2009, Day was still ranked 119th in the world.

Day would need to wait another six years before realising his dream in capturing last year’s BMW Championship – a vision he said he’d harboured since aged 13.

“That’s when I started really thinking about one day being No.1 in the world,” he said.

“I thought about playing competitive golf more, but once I started playing golf, reading the book about Tiger Woods, watching him win in ’96 also.

“I always thought, `I think I could turn pro when I was 14, 15 years old’, but … once I got to turning professional, I said, `OK, now I want to try to accomplish getting to No.1 in the world’, and that was … around 18 years old when I really wanted to kind of push for that.”

Day became the 19th player to reach the pinnacle of golf’s world rankings and the third Australian behind boyhood idol Greg Norman and their fellow Queenslander Adam Scott.

Day’s initial reign at No.1 was short-lived with Jordan Spieth taking back the mantle at the Tour Championship before Day regained the crown a month later on October 18 and kept it, this time, for a further three weeks.

Spieth took back to the title on November 8 and remained at the top for a further 20 weeks until March this year when Day captured the WGC World Match Play title in Austin, Texas.

Day has since ruled the world for an unbroken 24 weeks, meaning 28 weeks in total.

Seven years ago, Day’s dream may have smacked of youthful enthusiasm.

But in first reaching the top of his chosen sport, Day had a message for those doubters.

“I’d love to say I told you so, but that wouldn’t be very nice,” he said with trademark grin.

“It’s OK to dream big. It’s OK to say what you want to do.

“And for people that don’t respect that, then you really don’t need to give them the time, because who am I or who are they to tell you that you shouldn’t be able to do something?

“And to be able to sit up here today, No.1 in the world, looking back when I was an 18-year-old kid, very full of confidence, there’s not much I would say.

“I would still thank them because that was kind of the fuel that lit the fire for me, especially with the dedication over these last few years because I know that a lot of people were thinking against me on that. I’m glad I accomplished it.”

And Australian golf is rightfully proud of Jason Day’s outstanding – and ongoing – achievement.