Jason Day wrote a letter to his 12-year-old self, outlining some of the trials and tribulations that would take him from a junior golfer with potential to a major champion and the top-ranked player in the world.
Day's "Letter to My Younger Self" is the latest in a line of similar entries from athletes at the Players' Tribune, a group that has also included golfers Greg Norman and James Hahn. Day's letter was directed to the boy in Beaudesert, Australia, who was still reeling from his father's recent death.
"At 12 years old, to sit down and try to digest what happened...you haven't been able to. You're not going to be able to," Day wrote. "And that's fine. That's natural. But just know that this part will not be easy. This part will hurt, a lot."
Day wrote about his reluctance to return to golf following his father's death, finally prompted by his mother to once again pick up a club. He detailed the sacrifices made by his family to allow him to pursue the game, and credited the role that his caddie and coach, Col Swatton, had on his ultimate rise to prominence.
"There isn’t a word in the dictionary that could encompass the roles that Col will have in your life, so I won’t try to find one. But meeting Col will change your entire trajectory — both as a player and as a person," Day wrote. "Col will teach you how to get from golfer to Golfer, and from young man to man. No one outside of your family will ever be more important."
Day described the transition he made while rising through the ranks of the PGA Tour, adding, "You'll find out after you've been on Tour for a while: 'playing for your card' is the enemy of 'playing to win.'"
Day and wife Ellie welcomed their second child last week, and the 28-year-old noted the impact family and fatherhood would have on him, both inside and outside the ropes. His letter culminated with his late-season surge this summer, one that saw him set a major championship scoring record en route to winning the PGA Championship and move to No. 1 in the world with a victory at the BMW Championship weeks later.
"I can tell. You're thinking I'm crazy. But you have to trust me on this one," Day wrote. "I know that times are tough right now, and I know that you miss your dad — but you just have to trust me. It might not always be easy, but it’s going to get easier. It might not always be good, but it’s going to get better."