At the end, Day overcome by emotions

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2015, 2:24 am

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Jason Day said he didn’t expect tears to come streaming down his face as he set up over his last putt to close out his victory Sunday at the PGA Championship.

We shouldn’t have been surprised, though.

We knew he had to have locked away a sea of emotions coming so close on all those major championship Sundays, in all those failed chances to win his first major. You feel like you’ve got one arm in a green jacket at the Masters, one hand on a U.S. Open trophy and one hand on the claret jug, there’s a lot of heartache in losing.

Day’s wife, Ellie, said she wasn’t surprised by Jason’s tears, but not for the reasons you might think.

“He cries at funny things, like movies,” Ellie said standing on the 18th green in the wake of victory.

She said watching the movie Wall-E with their 3-year-old son, Dash, makes Jason emotional.

“That movie makes Jason choke up,” she said.

Jason and Ellie cried together after she galloped onto the 18th green with Dash after that last putt fell. She knew what hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy meant to her husband. It was, more than anything, Jason’s reward for enduring failure, for learning from it and ultimately overcoming it.

“If I didn't have that failure, I wouldn't be standing here today with the trophy,” Day said. “Some people get there quicker than others. Some people make it look easier than others. I'm just glad that it's finally happened, because it was kind of wearing on me a little bit.”


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His triumph washed away some frustrating memories ...

Day birdied the 17th and 18th holes in the final round of the Masters in 2011 to take a share of the clubhouse lead only to watch Charl Schwartzel close with four consecutive birdies and leave him tied for second. Day had the lead with three holes to go at the Masters in 2013 but bogeyed two of the last three holes to finish second again. He had a share of the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open this summer only to watch Jordan Spieth win, and he had a share of the 54-hole lead at the Open Championship last month only to see Zach Johnson win.

With the lead going into yet another final round Sunday at Whistling Straits, losing this one could have been more crushing than any of those other losses.

“It would have been very tough for me to come back from a major championship such as this, if I didn't finish it off,” Day said. “Knowing that I had the 54-hole lead, or was tied for the 54-hole lead for the last three majors, and not being able to finish, it would have been tough for me mentally. Even though I feel like I'm a positive person, I think that, in the back of my mind, something would have triggered, and I would have gone, `Maybe I can't really finish it off.’”

With just a 6-inch putt left in the end to lock up his three-shot victory over wunderkind Jordan Spieth, Day’s mind couldn’t help racing. He couldn’t help thinking how long a journey that little putt would actually travel with all the sacrifice that went into it. He couldn’t help thinking about his father, Alvin, an Irish-Australian who died of stomach cancer when Jason was 12. About his mother, Dening, who was born in the Philippines, and how she made sacrifices getting him into a golf academy. About Ellie, Dash, and the couple’s expected second child, due in November. About his caddie, Colin Swatton, who has become like a father to him and is also his swing coach.

“That's why a lot of emotion came out of me,” Day said. “My mom took a second mortgage out on the house, borrowed money from my aunt and uncle, just to get me away from where I was, to go to school, a seven-hour drive.

“I remember growing up. I remember watching my mom cut the lawn with a knife because we couldn't afford to fix the lawn mower. I remember not having a hot water tank, so we used a kettle for hot showers. My mom would come bring three or four kettles in, just to heat them up. And it would take 5-10 minutes for every kettle to heat up.”

Day’s mind raced to how Swatton stepped in as more than a coach and caddie.

“He’s been there for me since I was 12½ years old,” Day said. “He’s taken me from a kid that was getting in fights at home and getting drunk at 12 and not heading in the right direction to a major champion winner.”

Those are the kind of powerful thoughts that came flooding into Day’s head knowing he was going to win Sunday.

“Walking up 18, knowing that I've got the trophy, it was just hard,” Day said. “I was trying to hold back tears, and when I saw the putt go up to half a foot, I just couldn't stop crying. It's just a lot of hard work that I've been putting into this game to dedicate myself to have a shot at glory, to have a shot at greatness. And that's what we all work towards. It's a good feeling.”

The way Day finally broke through was especially rewarding. With Spieth the favorite, trying to win his third major championship this year, Day sensed how much people were rooting to see history. He gave them history, all right, just not the kind they expected. He closed out with a 5-under-par 67 that got him to 20 under overall. Nobody’s ever gone that low in a major before. He broke the 19-under total Tiger Woods won the British Open with in 2000.

“It was fantastic,” Spieth said. “We play a lot of golf, and we played a lot of major championship rounds together, and that was the best I've ever seen him play.

“He's impressive to watch strike the ball, but it was nothing like today. He took it back, and he wailed on it. It was a stripe show. It was really a clinic to watch.”

Ellie could have said she sensed the victory coming, but it was more than that. She said Jason told her he was going to win coming to Whistling Straits. Over the last three months, especially since losing the British Open last month, she said he’s been different.

“There’s a whole shift in him in the last few months,” Ellie said. “I’ve been saying it forever. He’s worked harder than I’ve ever seen him. In the last couple months especially, I’ve just seen this change in him. I don’t know if it’s his comfort level, or his confidence, but this was just going to happen.”

It was as if Jason knew he was doing everything he could, that he was working as hard as he could on his game with Swatton, and that he was doing all he could in the gym with trainer Cornell Driessen.

“I don’t know what it is, he’s just grown up in a lot of ways,” Ellie said. “In the last couple months, it seems like a switch has just flipped. I think that comes with him putting in all the work. His body has physically changed. The way he eats, the way he exercises. He’s just so committed in every single way.”

That’s where those tears came from, knowing that it wasn’t just his commitment, but the commitment of so many people around him was being rewarded.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.