Day like a ‘dog with a bone’ getting back to No. 1
(Austin, Texas): Day returned to the pinnacle of his sport on the back of a 3&2 quarter-final defeat of American Brooks Koepka in the WGC – Dell Match-Play event in Austin, Texas.
It is the third time in the Queensland born golfer’s career he’s been World No. 1.
The 27-year old father of two first moved to No. 1 in the world last September in capturing the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship, his fifth victory of 2015.
However Day relinquished the crown just one week but reclaimed the title for three weeks before Spieth again became No. 1 in early November, a rule of some 18 weeks.
But ever since Day teed-up on 10th January earlier this year in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions he has talked about nothing else then getting back to World No. 1.
And that goal reached boiling point last Sunday in suburban Orlando in capturing the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a victory that eased him back into World No. 2.
Jason Day (Credit: www.golffile.ie)
“I guess I have been like a dog with a bone these past few weeks since the start of my 2016 season as I just wanted to get back to World No. 1 so much,” he said.
“But then it’s not so much about the No. 1 ranking that really gets me excited.”
“It’s more about the journey and the process that’s it’s taken. To get to the top of your sport takes a lot of time and dedication. It’s delayed satisfaction that I’m very happy for. To get back to No. 1 in the world is fantastic.”
Deposed World No. 1 Spieth was on his way home to Dallas after going down 4&2 to South African Louis Oosthuizen in Saturday morning’s quarter-final showing.
And Spieth hardly gave a biased Texas crowd much to cheer about spraying shots about the course and never being in front after being 1 down through four holes.
However the 22-year old, who will tee-up in this coming week’s Shell Houston Open, can see a brighter side ahead of his Masters defence in no longer carrying the No. 1 ranking.
“To be honest, it could be a good thing for me going into the Masters,” said Spieth.
Mathematically, and as Day is not competing in Houston, Spieth could return to World No. 1 but then Day can ensure that will not happen should he defeat defending Dell champion Rory McIlroy in his semi-final showdown with the World No. 3 and then proceed to defeat the winner of the Oosthuizen -v- Rafa Cabrera-Bello semi-final.
“I expect a really tough match in the morning against Rory,” said Day.
“It seems like he is playing some good golf right now. He was No. 1 for a long time. He is a tough competitor.”
But then Day also is a former WGC – Dell Match-Play winner having won the title two years ago at Dove Mountain in Arizona.
Of course, Day grew-up in Queensland playing plenty of match-play golf both at a social level and then in the junior competition ranks winning four important junior titles in 2004 – the Australian Junior Championship, World Junior Championship along with the trio of Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand Amateur titles.
Two years later he lifted a second Queensland Amateur winning trophy.
More recently, Day has been in three International Presidents Cup sides and in 2013 won the individual, and also teamed with Adam Scott in the same event, to bring home the World Cup for Australia.
So what has made Day such a dogged and determined opponent at match-play?
“I just don’t give up,” he declared.
“I think that’s the biggest thing, because it is easy to sometimes go two or three down and just kind of coast it in and just take your loss and move on.”
“The biggest thing for me is to understand even though I may be down, you’re never out of the fight. You can always find a way to get it done. Not only playing these matches and being in the heat of the battle, I see it as I want to win this tournament.”
“But I see it as great experience going forward, too, because you can’t simulate what we feel out there unless you’re in contention on a Sunday.”
“And to be able to feel that emotion and the feelings that go through your body from Wednesday all the way through to Sunday is very important and crucial to the development of my game. Once again, I just — I think for me I just don’t quit.”
“And I’ll keep fighting until it’s over, until I either have lost or have won.”