Top 5 Golfers to Watch in 2018: Jason Day
The date was 20 September 2015 when Australian Jason Day took the No. 1 rank in the world of golf – joining Greg Norman and Adam Scott as the only Aussies to ever take the top spot.
He held it for just one week, engaged in a three-way dogfight with American Jordan Spieth and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy for the rest of that year for the top spot. He grabbed it more securely on March 27, 2016, and held it for 47 straight weeks until current No. 1 Dustin Johnson took over last February. In the middle of all that, he and wife Ellie had their second child, a daughter named Lucy, was born. Things could hardly be going better.
In that two-season period, he won the 2015 PGA Championship, finished second the following year, finished in the top 10 of four other Majors, won the WGC-Match Play in 2016, and won six other tournaments.
While he finished 2016 ranked No. 1, Day did not win a tournament after May of 2016. He started off 2017 with a 12th-place finish at the Tournament of Champions and took fifth at Pebble Beach, but missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and was tied for 64th at the Genesis Open.
He was a late scratch from the WGC-Mexico City, finished 58th at the WGC-Match Play, and barely made the cut at The Masters, shooting 74-76 his first two days. He finished with rounds of 69 and 71 to finish tied for 22nd, but then missed the cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Returning to the PLAYERS Championship in mid-May as defending champion, Day finished tied for 60th, shooting an 80 in his final round.
He seemed to be back in old form when he took second at the AT&T Byron Nelson the following week, firing a third-round 63 en route to 12-under and finished tied for 15th at the Memorial, overcoming an opening-round 75.
The roller-coaster ride continued as Day missed the cut at the US Open, shooting 79-75, then let a second-round 76 knock him out of contention at The Open Championship.
He finally found his form as the year wound down, finishing tied for ninth at the PGA Championship, tied for sixth at the Northern Trust and fourth at the BMW Championship, shooting 64-65 on the first two days.
2017 was Day’s first year without a PGA tournament victory since 2013 and by the end of the year he had fallen to 13th in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR). The only top 10 player to fall farther from the end of 2016 to the end of 2017 was American Patrick Reed, who dropped 16 spots to 24th from 8th.
In September of 2017, Day parted ways with his caddie of 11 years, Colin Swatton, who remained on board as Day’s swing coach. Day used Luke Reardon as his caddie at the BMW Championship, where he finished tied for fourth.
Reardon attend Swatton’s golf academy in Australia along with Day. The only thing holding the 31-year-old caddie back is getting a US work visa.