For Jason Day, 2011 was a big year. This year, however, will prove to be the biggest in his short life. Day, 24, and his wife, Ellie, are expecting their first child in July.
'I've always done things young. I didn't want to be an old dad,' Day said Tuesday night in a telephone interview. 'I'm a little nervous, obviously, being a father for the first time. I'm also excited at the same time. I've always wanted to have kids. I love kids.'
The new addition will only strengthen the family bond Day considers so critical.
'When I'm long and gone, and old and gray, and if something happens to me that I can't play golf anymore, my family is always going to be there. My family comes first, then my golf,' he said.
The golf, however, is coming along very well. At No. 7 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Day is the highest-ranked player outside of the U.S. and Europe. He began his season with a T-2 finish in the Qatar Masters.
He believes becoming a father will make him an even better player.
'I think it's definitely going to affect me for the good. I'm fairly impatient at times and this will make me a lot more patient with kids, once we have them,' he said. 'I feel really different about this year.”
The Aussie begins his 2012 PGA Tour campaign this week at the Northern Trust Open, where he has missed the cut in his two previous starts. With a little seasoning, Day expects to perform better this week.
'It's kind of like the Masters, really. You have to see the course and play it a few times to know what to do in certain situations,' Day said of Riviera Country Club.
The comparison is especially apt for Day, who finished T-2 last year in his first Masters. He attributed his success there to the time he spent as a child staying up to watch the year's first major.
'I remember watching it since I was 10, getting up at 4 (a.m.) to watch Augusta, which helped me last year. I knew where to hit the ball and where to play from on certain shots,' he said.
Above all, the Masters is what Day wants most.
'Nine times out of 10, (Aussies) are going to say Augusta because no one from Australia has ever won there. They want to be the first winner. That's very, very important to me,' he said.