(Photo via theguardian.com)
This isn’t the first time Jason Day was told to withdraw from a tournament to not risk further injury. But Day knew he could stick it out enough to do something big. And big it was, with Day taking the World no. 1 ranking away from Jordan Speith, then winning the WGC Dell Match Play for the 2nd time in three years.
It’s amazing how tragedies make good stories.
Day’s father got him into the sport of golf as a boy in Queensland, Australia, and didn’t look back. Until Jason’s father passed away when he was 12. The sport that was there for him slowly vanished from his eye, and the train started getting derailed. As a confused and frustrated 12 year old, Jason started drinking. He started getting into fights and getting into more trouble. His sister would run away from home for weeks at a time. Golf is still invisible.
Jason’s mother takes a second mortgage on their house and sends Jason to a boarding school in Brisbane. Many people get several lifelines in a time like this. Jason got one: Col Swatton. “The first time I sat down with Jason, I saw a boy who was genuinely hungry. He wanted it, and more importantly needed it. He didn’t want to let his sister and mother down, and primarily his father,” said Col upon meeting Jason.
Day always said, “I enjoy the chase of getting better,” and he proved it. As a 12 year old, he knew he was going to be something great, but worked for it. Waking up at 5 a.m. every morning and working harder than any other student at that golf academy put him on the track, the right track.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have anything. If you have the dream and you learn to overcome all the hurdles, you can reach it. And Jason Day did, with hard work.
Sports teach the best lessons. Golf especially does.
Day has openly said he’s never worked harder in his life than after he became the best in the world. The chase was hard, but maintaining it is another beast. He’s had the best two years of his life in 2015 and now 2016, in terms of the sport. He has his wife Ellie, his son Dash. He still has his mentor and coach Col by his side everyday.
This sport teaches you who you are, down to your core. Day has learned that. Now he’s the World no. 1.
No greater respect. The everyday battle.
– M. Fritz