Day named as AIS Australian Male Athlete of the Year

No Australian sportsman has been more impressive than Jason Day in the past 12 months.

So it was hardly a surprise when Day nailed another quality field to be named Australian Male Athlete of the Year at last week’s AIS Sport Performance Awards in Sydney.

Jason Day Jason Day (Credit: www.golffile.ie)

His climb to No 1 in the world rankings has been well documented, as has his US PGA victory to give him his first major championship.

Nonetheless a lot less is known about Day’s struggle to make a name for himself in professional golf, his pre-professional years when he faced a struggle with alcohol as a teenager following the premature death of his Dad when he was just 12.

Day was raised by his Filipino mother in Queensland, and it has become part of golf folklore how his longtime golf mentor, coach and caddy Col Swatton turned his life the full circle.

Day’s fabulous 2015 season saw him finish ahead of other finalists Rohan Dennis (cycling), Mitch Larkin (swimming) and Michael Matthews (cycling) to win the prestigious honour.

Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt was on hand to accept the award on Day’s behalf as the US-based Queenslander is already back trying to add to his imposing record on the US PGA Tour.

“It’s a remarkable accomplishment to become the No. 1 golfer in the world, particularly at a time when there is such great depth in world golf,” said Pitt.

“Australian golfers are very proud of Jason and I’m sure they understand the enormous amount of work and sacrifice that has gone into this achievement.”

It has been well documented how Day collapsed at last year’s US Open due to a debilitating vertigo, forcing him into further tests after the tournament.

He has since learned that the ailment was caused by an inner ear problem and he has managed it with medication.

It also affected his play at the British Open before he rebounded for the gutsiest of wins over Jordan Spieth at the US PGA.

He finished the year ranked No 2 behind Spieth but 2015 will go down as a watershed year for Jason Day.