Jason Day, Golf Superstar

 The Day family (Jason, son Dash, and wife Ellie) posing with the Wanamaker trophy of the PGA Championship (Source: Getty Images)

The Day family (Jason, son Dash, and wife Ellie) posing with the Wanamaker trophy of the PGA Championship (Source: Getty Images)

Australian-Filipino golfer Jason Day has finally arrived. He is now the world’s newest sports superstar by winning the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin last weekend.

In ascending to the pinnacle of golf, Jason’s story unfolded like a Filipino movie screenplay. It is rags-to-riches, from a seemingly lost juvenile to greatness, from family tragedy and illness to sports prowess and, in the last episode, coming back from recent setbacks and frustrations and being matched against the most formidable opponent there is. In dramatic fashion the bida (hero) prevails.

[Read: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2015/aug/17/jason-day-not-only-killed-off-the-wicked-witch-he-did-so-in-grand-style?CMP=ema_565]

It all began in the small rural town of Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia, (pop. 6,000) where Jason was born. His Australian father died early, and growing up fatherless, he ran into bad company; at 12 years old he would go home drunk. They were poor, and his mother, Adenil Grapilon, known as Dening, who hails from Carigara, Leyte, made ends meet and took Jason to task. She got a second mortgage off their house and sent him to boarding school seven hours away. The school had a golf course, and there Jason found a purpose in life, a calling for self-improvement and a dedicated mentor, Colin Swatton, (who is also his caddie now).

 Dening Day, proud of her son winning one of golf's major tournaments (Source: NewsCorp Australia)

Dening Day, proud of her son winning one of golf's major tournaments (Source: NewsCorp Australia)

There were clear promises in young Jason’s golf skills as he won junior titles and Professional Golf Association (PGA) titles; yet fortune did not seem to favor him. In 2013, as he was about to represent Australia for golf’s biggest competition among nations, Jason learned his grandmother and eight other relatives had died during typhoon Haiyan. Jason, however, made that tragedy an inspiration and won the World Cup for his country. He also emerged as best golfer of the tournament.

[Read: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/aug/17/jason-day-pays-tribute-to-family-after-finally-completing-difficult-journey]

By compiling an enviable record of nine top 10 finishes in golf’s major tournaments in so short a time, the press anointed him as an emerging star, but Jason always fell short of winning a major title. Three times he led going into the last round only to fail. Last June he was leading in the U.S. Open, when he collapsed on the fairway because of vertigo. Last July in the British Open, he tied for the lead and then missed a short putt on the very last hole. Doubts were raised about his physical and mental stamina.

 Caddie Colin Swatton looked after Day as he succumbed to vertigo at the U.S. Open earlier this year. (Source: Associated Press)

Caddie Colin Swatton looked after Day as he succumbed to vertigo at the U.S. Open earlier this year. (Source: Associated Press)

At Whistling Straits by Lake Michigan, Jason led again going into the last round. He was paired against Jordan Spieth, now ranked number one in the golf world, and a classic confrontation of young and powerful stars was waged. They tested each other, exchanging birdies with birdies, executing powerful drives and precise shot-making. At the very last hole, with just one short tap-in putt to be made, Jason set new record of 20 under par, the best ever in golf history. Most importantly, with a three-stroke lead over Spieth, he was not going to be denied his first major title this time.

As the setting Wisconsin sun shone on his face, Jason Day, true to his Filipino heritage, unabashedly cried tears of joy for all the world to see.

 With son Dash, Day got emotional upon winning his first golf major at the 2015 PGA Championship, after years of top 10 finishes. (Source: Reuters/Photo by Thomas J. Russo)

With son Dash, Day got emotional upon winning his first golf major at the 2015 PGA Championship, after years of top 10 finishes. (Source: Reuters/Photo by Thomas J. Russo)


 I. Wilfredo Ver

I. Wilfredo Ver

I. Wilfredo Ver is a former military man and an avid golfer.


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