Day singles out Augusta National as golfing heaven
(Orlando, FL:) Australia’s Jason Day is so passionate about becoming only the second Australian to win the Masters that if he were to pass away his golfing heaven would be Augusta National.
This year’s appearance in the Masters will be the Australian’s sixth invitation to the year’s first Major.
Jason Day (Credit: Anthony Powter)
Day brilliantly finished in a share of second place on debut in 2011 and was then third behind fellow Australian Adam Scott when Scott ended a 70-year Augusta drought to become the first Australian-born winner of the Masters.
Day revealed his passion to win at Augusta was fuelled 20-years ago watching TV coverage of Tiger Woods winning by a remarkable 12 shots in what was Woods’ first showing as a professional in a Major Championship.
“Ever since watching Tiger Woods in ’97 win that, and knowing that Greg Norman had a chance and a couple of other Aussies had a chance beforehand to be able to be the first Australian, that was always on my radar, to be the first Australian to win Augusta,” said Day on the eve of this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in suburban Orlando.
“Adam Scott beat me, but it’s okay, because I would like to be the second player to win from Australia.”
“It’s just the whole feeling about that place. You can put history and tradition aside and you just play there, it’s kind of like a spiritual feeling for golfers. It’s a spiritual place for us to be able to go and just feel it. It’s kind of surreal in a way.”
“If you’re there by yourself or with your caddie on a quiet day, when no one’s around, it just so peaceful.”
“So that’s kind of like golfing heaven for us — or it is for me — if I ever died and I ended up going up and they put me on a golf course, it would be Augusta National.”
“So, it’s just got that special feel about it, that I feel like I need to win there and I hope hopefully I get that opportunity one day.”
Day had been earlier asked if he could remember what he was doing 20 years ago when Tiger Woods won on that Monday morning.
As a then nine-year-old the young Queenslander was attending primary school when TV coverage of the final round of the 1997 Masters was being screened early on Monday morning.
“I was nine years old and I was getting into golf, I mean I played golf and I was actually in Rockhampton at the time and my dad had this turn-knob TV with bunny ears..and you had to move the antenna to get the right picture and it was like really early in the morning,” he said.
“I remember him walking up the 18th and he obliterated the field. That’s kind of — there’s two moments where it really got me into golf, where Tiger really got me into golf was that moment when he won the ’97 Masters and I started playing more golf than I usually did at that age.”
“Then when I read a book about him when I was 14. So, they are the two moments that really kind of changed my life with regards to my career.”
And it prompted a question to Day if he was that excited to see Woods win to ask for a ‘Tiger’ head cover, which were popular at the time.
“I didn’t have enough pocket money to buy a Tiger head cover,” he said laughing.
“Back then I had second-hand clubs from Cash Converters and that was all we could afford. But also back then they didn’t have the head covers they have nowadays in the sports and golf stores.”
“So, even if you did have a Tiger head cover back then everyone would have looked upon you big time.”