This time, Jason Day didn’t leave it short.
Last Monday, on the 72nd hole at St. Andrews, Day left his birdie effort in the middle of the hole – and an inch in front of it. He finished one shot out of an eventual playoff and missed a golden opportunity to cash in for his first major win.
Six days later, Day was staring at another birdie putt on the 72nd green, this time to take the RBC Canadian Open.
Day’s putt broke right, straightened out, came back to the left and dropped for the fourth victory of the Aussie’s PGA Tour career and his second this year.
“I got the ball to the hole this time,” he said.
Granted, the Canadian Open is not the British Open, but Sunday marked yet another step forward for Day. The 27-year-old has now won multiple PGA Tour events in the same season for the first time in his career and joined Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker in the group of multi-time winners in 2014-15.
One month after a health scare at Chambers Bay, when Day collapsed during his second round with a bout of benign positional vertigo, the focus is no longer on his health. The focus is on what is next in store for a world-class player who appears poised to make yet another run at his maiden major win in three weeks at Whistling Straits.
More importantly for a guy previously hampered by wrist issues, back issues and even head issues, he’s reaching a new level of consistency. Day has finished in the top 10 in seven of 14 events this season. He’s finished in the top five six times.
And now he’s learning to close, too. Day beat three others in a playoff at Torrey Pines back in February and birdied his final three holes Sunday in Canada to edge Watson and Ontario native David Hearn.
So, no, Day doesn’t have a major yet. But he’s only 27, and the aforementioned Spieth and McIlroy have set our expectations way out of whack. Remember, Phil Mickelson was 33 before it was finally his time at Augusta National.
With every week, and every win, and every near-miss, Day is getting closer to breaking through. He’ll tell you himself.
“To be able to put yourself in contention so many times, especially in major events, and just fall short, even going back to last week, leaving the putt short, not being able to get into the playoff, it was frustrating. It was disappointing,” Day said.
“Even though I knew that I played great, I knew that I had to focus on this week. So when I actually had the same putt, it was a very similar putt on the 72nd hole today, the same thing was going through my mind: ‘Make sure you get it to the hole.’”
This time, he did.