Jason Day stunned at leading golf’s best
THREE days after the biggest victory of his career, Queenslander Jason Day still can't quite comprehend he owns the lowest under-par score in major golf history.
In winning the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin last weekend 20-under par, the 27-year-old from Beaudesert eclipsed the previous mark held by fallen world No.1 Tiger Woods.
His total gave Day a three-shot buffer over the new No.1 player, 22-year-old American Jordan Spieth.
After coming so close to winning so many times in recent years, Day's emotions overflowed on the 18th green as he burst into tears and hugged his life-long caddy Col Swatton in a special moment for the pair.
Day, who had a tough upbringing, losing his father Alvyn to cancer when he was 12 and turning to alcohol and street gangs before his mother, sister and best mate Swatton came to his rescue, was struggling for words to describe how it felt to have such a special record beside his name.
"Nobody told me about the record, nobody ever came up to me and talked to me about it because honestly, I don't think they expected me to do it, to surpass it," Day said in a phone hook-up from the United States.
"Looking back on it, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones ... I mean just some of the names who have touched a golf club, walked the golf courses I've walked and I've got the record. It's just amazing.
"To have your name there or mentioned in the same breath as these guys is quite unbelievable to be honest."
Day, now the world No.3 behind Spieth and Rory McIlroy, said his desire to get even better through more hard work, and eventually claim the No.1 ranking, was even stronger than when he first declared as an 18-year-old that he was going to "take Tiger down".
"Obviously the statement is still true because what I wanted to do then was play against Tiger and overtake him one day and get to that No.1 spot in the world," he said.
"It's still the same today as it was when I was 18, but now I have some other players, two guys in particular (Spieth and McIlroy) who are playing phenomenal golf, ahead of me.
"To be honest, I think I need to work harder to get there ... and I will."
With his wife Ellie expecting their second child later this year, Day has made the tough decision to skip the Australian Tour, which would have included a tantalising showdown with Spieth at the Australian Open.
"I'm excited with what is about to happen to my family with the new baby, but I'm sad that I can't come back because I really wanted the Australian people and golf fans to cherish this moment with me," he said.
"(But) I'd be in the dog house if I left my wife with two young children by herself."