World number 1 Jason Day’s huge win at the Players Championship last weekend sees him draw further ahead of his peers. 7 wins from the last 17 starts and three wire to wire victories since September are giving him massive confidence backing up his own lofty ambitions.
His first two rounds of 63 and 66 at TPC Sawgrass are a 36 hole tournament record and he left rival Jordan Spieth, who missed the cut, trailing in his wake. Spieth looked a shadow of the player who had dominated the golf world in 2015. His collapse at this year’s Masters has obviously taken its mental toll but he also took to social media to dig at people who were pilloring him about losing. Posting a baby picture of himself wearing sunglasses he said “I need to get some more of these to protect me from the haters”.
Jason Day’s phenomenal length with the driver and probably the best short game on tour were tested on Sunday when for the front nine he looked vulnerable. The testing putting surfaces, which were hard and bumpy culminated in a poor bogey on the 9th hole. But such is his desire and mental strength he pulled it together on the back nine to pull off a four shot win.
He is one of the hardest workers on tour and looks incredibly drained at the end of a tournament he invests so much of himself in every shot. This worries me a bit because he could physically and mentally burn out. He is only 28 and in his physical prime but his intensity may wear him out.
Jason talked, after this win, that he wanted to win The Players Championship so badly because one day it might be enough to help get him into the World Golf Hall of Fame. “I wanted to win this tournament so bad and go down in history. Ten wins isn’t enough. I want to leave a legacy and I want to be look backed on as one of the greats of the game”.
Big ambitions. At the moment he’s having a dominant run as Rory McIlroy did in 2014 and Jordan Spieth did in 2015. Adam Scott says he looks Tigeresque, as when Tiger won 50% of the tournaments he entered in a five year stretch. But whether Day can sustain to Tiger’s level remains to be seen. It’s interesting that Tiger Woods is mentoring Jason Day and offering him great advice. Day says of their relationship “he says when he comes back he’s going to kick my butt”. Interestingly he commented on this with caution. “IF he comes back AND he’s turned into Tiger Woods again, then I’ve got to watch my behind”.
Until then Jason Day is this year invincible. And he can say to the field what the great Walter Hagen used to say to his contemporaries.
“Who’s going to come second?”