Day was 20 years old at the time.
The scenario doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.
With his hard-fought victory Sunday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Day moved from No. 11 to a career-best No. 4 in the latest world rankings. His previous best ranking was seventh, achieved most recently in February 2012.
This was his second career PGA Tour title, and first since the 2010 Byron Nelson Championship. In December, the Australian also captured the World Cup of Golf, a tournament that awards world-ranking points but is not considered an official event on the PGA Tour.
Another big mover after the first WGC event of the calendar year was runner-up Victor Dubuisson. The 23-year-old Frenchman, who dazzled spectators and TV viewers with his all-world shots from the desert, jumped from 30th to 23rd. At this time last year, he was ranked 140th in the world.
Rickie Fowler also made an important move, rising from 56th to 38th to punch his ticket to next week’s Cadillac Championship at Doral. Fowler, who had missed three cuts in a row entering the Match Play, defeated Ernie Els (now 29th in the world) in the consolation match.
The other 12 players who punched their ticket to Miami by virtue of being inside the top 50 in the OWGR: Rory McIlroy (eighth), Bubba Watson (14th), Jimmy Walker (25th), Louis Oosthuizen (33rd), Ryan Moore (34th), Harris English (36th), Miguel Angel Jimenez (41st), Patrick Reed (44th), Jonas Blixt (47th), Chris Kirk (48th) and Martin Kaymer (50th).
Eight of the top 10 players in the world will be teeing it up at this week’s Honda Classic. Here is the top 10: No. 1 Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Day, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson.