Jason Day — Getty Images
This time of year is reserved for football and Thanksgiving and figuring out your travel plans for the week, not for something called the World Cup of Golf that was being played in a place that is warm and sunny and wonderful.
But Sunday marked a pretty special moment for all of sports, as Jason Day picked up his first professional win since 2010 thanks to some gritty play down the stretch at the wonderful Royal Melbourne, capped off by a ridiculously clutch second shot into the tough 18th to set up a two-putt par and both the individual title and the team title for Australia alongside Adam Scott.
The win isn't supposed to be a blip on your radar. Golf fans went into hibernation weeks ago, putting their clubs in the closet for jackets and mittens and snow shovels. But Day's win is significant simply because the guy has been on a roller coaster of emotions the last two weeks.
Day lost eight family members including his grandmother to Typhoon Haiyan when it slammed into the Philippines earlier this month. Day released a statement about what was going on in his personal life, but he had committed to playing in this event with the Masters champion and couldn't really back out. If you've ever had a minute to chat with Day you know that isn't his style. He's one of the good guys on tour, the type of kid that seems to totally understand who he is and what he's about.
A lot of people including myself are baffled that Day has only one PGA Tour win in his career, simply because his talent level is up there with the Rorys and the Adams and the Dustins of the golf world.
Two seasons ago Day finished in second place at both the Masters and the U.S. Open. This year Day finished third at the Masters, T-2 at the U.S. Open and T-8 at the PGA Championship. The 26-year-old from Queensland, Australia isn't just a good player, he's a world beater that is just waiting for his moment to shine. Day has been there plenty of times, but it seems every time he's in that position to claim a tournament that would change his life another big name trumps him with some ridiculous run (see Charl Schwartzel's four birdies in '10, Scott's run in '13).
But major wins were the furthest thing on his mind when the final putt dropped on Sunday in Melbourne.
Day talked after the win about the importance of having his family around him this week, and why he decided to play instead of just withdrawing with a completely understandable reason.
''It's just been an amazing tournament for me,'' Day said. ''My mother, my family, coming down to support me. I'm just so happy the hard work has paid off, and I'm glad it happened in Melbourne.
''It would have been the easiest thing for me to just go ahead and pull out of the tournament with what has been going on over the last week,'' Day said. ''But I really wanted to come down here and play."
This is one of those rare instances where sports just seems to take a man, and a family, in mourning and simply comfort them. Day had never won a professional golf tournament in Australia, but he seemed to understand Royal Melbourne this week, pulling off some incredible shots like the one you see below with a soft touch around these links-style greens.
His win isn't just incredible considering what Day has gone through over the last two weeks, but it's great for the immediate future of golf. Not many 20-somethings are on the short list of potential major winners in 2014, but Day has to be one of those names, especially after notching his first pro win in three years.
Sunday wasn't just a big win for Day and Australia, but a huge win for sports, reminding us why we tune in for hours on end every week in hopes of seeing someone triumph in the midst of tragedy.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Jason Day
- Royal Melbourne