Heading to the first tee on a bright Sunday at Whistling Straits for the final round of the PGA Championship, Jason Day was hauling a lot of major scar tissue.
He left hauling the hefty Wanamaker Trophy.
In a historical display of power and composure, Day rid himself of major championship demons by holding off Jordan Spieth and an assortment of others to win the last major of the season. Never once becoming unsettled despite the pressure applied by his colleagues, and with the thermometer reaching 90 degrees along Lake Michigan, Day closed with a 5-under-par 67 to finish at 20 under 268 and toppled Spieth by three shots.
Day’s resounding triumph carried historical weight, too. With rounds of 68-67-66-67, he became the first player to finish a major championship at 20 under, breaking the record in relation to par set by Tiger Woods in the 2000 British Open when he finished 19 under.
As Day tapped in his final shot on the brutal 18th hole, tears started to flow as his pregnant wife, Ellie, and son, Dash, ran out to congratulate him.
“The experiences that I’ve had in the past with previous major finishes has definitely helped me prepare myself for a moment like this,” said Day, who moved to No. 3 in the world rankings with the win. “I was one of those guys where I was so close and I wasn’t the last man standing and it was frustrating for me. … But for me to really kind of be patient with myself and be disciplined and give myself the opportunities, just really it does wonders for your confidence. And I’m hoping this is kind of a springboard for me to really do some fantastic, great things in the future.”
Day wanted all to forget his past failures on the game’s biggest stages — three runner-up finishes and six top-fours in his last 18 starts in majors. In the past, he was a stressful sort who forced his hand coming down the stretch, taking perilous risks instead of freely letting the outcome play itself out.
SOURCE: Steve DiMeglio
USA TODAY Sports