TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 9: Jason Day
It was a challenging 2017, but the outlook looks much better in 2018
December 22, 2017
Jason Day electrifies the crowd with an ace at BMW
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
A year ago, Jason Day was the world’s top-ranked player and although he hadn’t won since May of 2016, you would have bought stock in his 2017 season.
Sadly, you would’ve taken a bath.
Day, whose 2016 PLAYERS Championship win was his seventh PGA TOUR win in 17 starts at the time, has been back-pedaling since and now finds himself at an interesting crossroads.
He’s just turned 30 and slipped to 12th in the world rankings over the course of 2017 following a winless season.
There were legitimate excuses – the biggest being a serious health scare for his mother – but even so, more is expected from the 10-time TOUR winner.
He had chances.
He lost in a playoff at the AT&T Byron Nelson, imploded when in great position at the PGA Championship and was unable to reel in countryman Marc Leishman at the BMW Championship despite being on his tail all tournament.
Telling also was losing a 54-hole lead to unheralded Cameron Davis at his home Australian Open in November.
Late in the season, he took long-term coach and mentor Colin Swatton off caddie duties and added good friend Luke Reardon to the bag in an effort to change the mojo.
But now the slate is wiped clean and 2018 will show us plenty.
Will we get a new reinvigorated Day ready to grind and fight his way to the top a la the version we saw before his ascension to the world No. 1? Or will we see the talented but not quite as focused version prone to untimely mistakes we saw in 2017?
Given his talent, we expect the former. Watch out for this guy.
BY THE NUMBERS
How Jason Day ranked in Strokes Gained statistics during his last full season on the PGA TOUR.
Current 2017-18 position: 56th
Playoff appearances: 10
TOUR Championship appearances: 7
Best result: 3rd (2015)
INSIGHTS FROM THE INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Jason Day in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Cameron Morfit
Somehow, some way, Day has got to rediscover the closing kick. Recent results would seem to be encouraging, but there’s always a caveat. His solo fourth at the BMW Championship got him into the TOUR Championship, but that seemed like a hollow moral victory for a player who has won 10 times on TOUR and reached No. 1 in the world. He finished fifth at the Australian Open in November, but his final-round 73 did him no favors. Having slipped to 12th in the world and coming off a tough Presidents Cup, Day, 30, must settle his caddie situation and rediscover the player who dominated the game for the latter half of 2015.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
When he checked up shy of $3 million for 2016-17, he was arguably the hottest value for full-season salary gamers this season. The Aussie then made his first start as a 30-year-old at his national open in November. It was a rare treat for him to continue competing in the last quarter of the calendar year. With personal distractions negatively impacting focus and form early in the year a thing of the past, and with a busy fall in the books, 2018 is setting up to be a boon. Buy. Buy. Buy.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
He added a yet-to-be-released TaylorMade P-790 long iron at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He’s one of the first players to put a set of P-750 Tour Proto irons in play. Iron lofts are 2 degrees strong across the board to produce a more penetrating flight. Milled Grind wedges have a raw finish that allows them to rust over time. Used three different putters (Spider Red, White Spider and TP Ardmore 2) over the course of the final four months of the year.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
The biggest apparel move of 2017 saw Day donning Nike’s swoosh. As one of the biggest sneakerheads on TOUR, Day is a natural fit for Nike’s range of sporty kicks. In fact, in 2017 he laced up nearly every shoe in Nike’s golf range. In 2018, look for the Lunar Command 2 shoes to be his go-to, but he’ll likely work in everything from the freshest Jordans to personal editions of other models.