Australian Jason Day will represent his country at the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, despite tragedy hitting his family with the loss of eight relatives, including his grandmother, six cousins and an uncle, due to the typhoon in the Philippines, according to The Australian:
Among the thousands killed by the massive storm were Day’s grandmother, an uncle and six cousins. One aunt was found alive despite being swept to another village, while another aunt’s family survived after binding themselves together with rope and taking refuge in an attic.
Day’s mother, Dening, who migrated to Australia from the Philippines three decades ago, said her globetrotting son had been told of the tragedies but she was yet to speak to him.
“My daughter has been updating him, but I don’t want to bother him because he has commitments,” she said.
“There will be plenty of time to talk after (the World Cup). He’s representing his country, so I don’t want him worrying about anything apart from golf.”
Though Day had never met that part of his family, he has been concerned for his mother and asking his sisters for updates.
“He keeps asking how Mum’s doing and you can just reassure him as much as you possibly can that she’s OK. We’re with her and she’s fine,” said Yanna, one of Day’s two sisters.
Day’s mother grew up in the region where the typhoon hit, and out of her 10 siblings, two of them still lived there. She feared the worst when she didn’t hear from them or receive any news for several days.
“It was so hard because we couldn’t get hold of anybody,” she said.
“My sister’s daughter was in Taiwan and she was pleading on Facebook for someone to let her know what was happening.
“She couldn’t get any news so she phoned her brother in Manila and told him to drive (to their village).
“That was an 18-hour drive and when he got there he saw it was devastated and that their father, six sisters and grandmother were all gone and their mother was missing.
“My daughter saw an update posted on Facebook and phoned me to translate it. She spelled out the words and I just said ‘they’re all gone’.
“We thought my entire family had died and it was three days later we found out some had lived.”
Jason’s wife Ellie, who is home in Ohio, said initially the Days feared they had lost 30 family members.
“He’s hanging in there,” said Ellie via text message. “I think it’s hard to wrap his head around tragedies like this, especially since he hadn’t met them or know them personally.
“He’s just feeling sad for his mom. Thankfully, she was in Australia. She had been wanting to take a trip to see her family recently and I’m just glad she wasn’t there when it happened.”
Day will play alongside partner Adam Scott, who is fresh of two straight wins at the Australian Masters and the Australian PGA, in the World Cup this upcoming week.
Our thoughts our with Jason and the entire Day family.
*Update: Statement from Jason Day…
“I am deeply saddened to confirm that multiple members of my family lost their lives as the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. My family and I are thankful for all who have reached out with their prayers and concern. We feel devastated for all who have been affected by this horrific tragedy. While I understand the media’s interest in this matter and hope that any coverage can spread awareness to assist with the relief efforts that continue in the Philippines, I hope that all will respect my family’s privacy during this difficult time. I will have no further public comments at this time. Please pray for all who have suffered loss. Thank you.”