Jason Day captured the most significant win of his career, posting ten-under total to secure the individual title at the World Cup of Golf, along with the team honors for Australia with partner Adam Scott.
Choked with emotion, Day hugged his mother Dening, and his sisters, Kim and Yanna, on the 18th green at Royal Melbourne on Sunday. Just over a week ago, Dening, who immigrated to Australia from the Philippines thirty years ago, got official word that she had lost eight family members, including her mother (Jason’s grandmother) in Typhoon Haiyan.
“I am just happy that she is here and I get to hug her,” said a tearful Day.
Day almost pulled out of the event to support his family, but his mother insisted he stay and compete. Dening was in the Philippines tending to matters until just before the third round when she arrived in Melbourne to cheer on her son.
“It’s just been an amazing tournament for me,” said Day. “My mother, my family, coming down to support me. It would have been the easiest thing for me to just go ahead and pull out with what has been going on over the last week – just to be up there with my mum and support her. But I really wanted to come down here and play with Adam and really try to win the World Cup and we achieved that which was great.”
Added his sister Kim: “Our mother is doing better now that she is here with Jase – a lot better. It’s still tough but at least this is a positive thing. Jase said he was doing it for the family.”
Day and Scott combined to fire a 17-under total for the tournament, eclipsing the second-place American team of Kevin Streelman and Matt Kuchar by ten shots. It was the first victory for Team Australia at the World Cup in 24 years.
Day won $1.2 million for sealing the individual honors and will share $600,000 with Scott for the team winnings. Day has pledged to contribute a portion of his earnings to the typhoon-relief effort.
“Right now we’re in the process of doing something,” Day said when asked about relief efforts in the Philippines.
“Definitely, we’ll probably most likely set something up and definitely be giving some money or raising money and trying to raise awareness to what has really happened over there.
“The devastation and the tragedy that’s gone on over in the Philippines is very difficult for us to see because we’re living in such a great country. Once you know of someone or are related to someone who has gone through something like that it’s very close to the heart.”
Considering Day has become a regular contender at majors — with four top-threes in the last three seasons — it’s hard to believe this is only the 26-year-old’s second-career victory and his first since winning the HP Byron Nelson Championship in 2010.
“It’s taken me a while to get my second win and it couldn’t be more fitting with Scotty by my side, winning the World Cup down here in Melbourne,” Day said. “It was a lot of fun, even though it was very tough out there – today I really learned a lot about myself, and I can’t wait for next week’s Australian Open to start.”
Scott, who has already won the Australian PGA and Australian Masters over the past month, will have his work cut out for him to complete the Aussie Slam this upcoming week.
“I now have to get myself ready for the Australian Open and it’s something that means so much to all the Australian golfers, and at a great venue like Royal Sydney,” he said. “I am looking forward to the challenge and obviously Jason is playing great, while there is a host of other players who would badly love to win this coming week.”
Meanwhile, this year’s World Cup format was intended to replicate the format for the sport when it returns to the 2016 Olympics. The emphasis was on the individual rather than the team, and teammates were not necessarily paired together in the four stroke-play rounds, which kind of takes away from the point of being a “team.”
Day and Scott were not paired together for the entire week, and afterwards, Day implored the IOC to change the format before 2016 rolls round.
“My message to the Olympic organizers is that it would be good thing if team-mates could play together and help each other out as team-mates as they do in other Olympic team sports,” he said. “If the team aspect was put in place and every team played alongside each other that would draw bigger crowds to the golf.”