Jason Day’s Rising is Great for Golf

 

Jason Day’s Rising is Great for Golf

By Burt Carey

Jason Day didn’t merely win the Barclays championship. He absolutely crushed the field with a six-shot victory in the first of four playoffs for the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize.Jason Day, Golf, Barclays championship, FedEx Cup, Henrik Stenson, PGA Tour

Having won the year’s fourth major, the PGA Championship, earlier in August, Day’s flight to the top of the FedEx Cup standings was virtually unfettered. Henrik Stenson closed to within two strokes of the lead at one point, but even his superb 66 on the final day didn’t come close to matching the winner’s 62.

When Day won at Whistling Straits, he out-dueled fan-favorite Jordan Spieth and took home an emotional first career major championship. With former world No. 1 Spieth failing to make the cut at the Barclays, the New Jersey fans decidedly chose to cheer for the 27-year-old Australian.

And suddenly gone were the marquee names in golf: Tiger Woods was eliminated for the season a week earlier; Phil Mickelson struggled to a 1-over par finish; two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson never shot over 69 but finished third, eight shots back; and Rory McIlroy was somewhere in Europe watching.

Golf can be a fickle game. But rarely in the sport’s history has its royalty changed crowns so quickly. With one exception this year (39-year-old Zach Johnson’s win at the Open Championship), the game’s youth movement is in full swing. World No. 1 McIlroy, No. 2 Spieth and No. 3 Day are all in their 20s. Rounding out the Top 5, No. 4 Bubba Watson is the grand old man of the group at age 36, and No. 5 Rose is 35.

Leading the trio to three titles in the last four tournaments, Day said missing the Open Championship playoff by one stroke was a turning point. Including the Open, he’s shot 73 under par in his last 20 rounds of golf, by far the best on the PGA Tour. The golfer who comes closest is South African Justin Rose, who’s played the last 20 rounds to 49 under par.

As the PGA Tour looks ahead this week to the Deutsche Bank Championship, Day could move to No. 1 in the World Golf rankings with a win. Spieth could also re-assume the world’s No. 1 position, as his slip at the Barclays allowed the idle McIlroy to retake the spot by a mere .13 points.

What all of this spells for golf is great for the game not just in the U.S. but abroad. Day is entering hero status much like his countrymen Greg Norman, Peter Thomson, Adam Scott, Ian Baker-Finch, Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby. McIlroy has already joined the ranks of Padraig Harrington, Christy O’Connor Sr., Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell in their native Ireland. And Rose is coming ever so close to touching the hems of Gary Player, Bobby Locke, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen. Fans pay big money to see masters of this game.

And they will pay big money this weekend to see Day go head-to-head with Spieth and Watson. The trio, ranked Nos. 1-3 in the FedEx Cup standings, will tee off together Friday at 9:30 a.m. from the No. 10 hole.

 

Source:  Baret News