Day's six-stroke victory leaves him wanting more
August 30, 2015
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Barclays winner Jason Day is now No. 1 in FedExCup points. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)
EDISON, N.J. -- Turns out, that putt Jason Day left short on the final green as the shadows settled over St. Andrews last month, the one that kept him out of a playoff for the Open Championship, may have been the best thing that ever happened to him.
Day was bitterly disappointed, of course. But he surprised himself in the way he felt so calm, so comfortable within himself and so confident that there would be other opportunities -- sooner rather than later.
"I felt like it was my time," Day said. "Like mentally I felt like, you paid your dues, now it's time to go out and win tournaments."
And he has, three times in his last four starts since that Open, including that elusive first major at the PGA Championship where he knocked off Jordan Spieth. Sunday's final round at The Barclays was nothing short of stunning, too, as Day fired a 62 to beat Henrik Stenson by a phenomenal six strokes and take over the top spot in the FedExCup in the process.
"I'm not going to say in the future it's going to be like this all the time, because it's very difficult to win," Day said after making it look easy as he pulled away from a star-studded field on the back nine.
He does think, however, that he's learned never to be satisfied and that outlook is going to serve the introspective 27-year-old well. There's always another birdie to make, another par save to preserve a round, and Day put on a veritable clinic Sunday.
Day credited his dominating performance to "not being OK with OK. To be able to really get to a certain number, then go, OK, I need to get one more." That's exactly what he did, too, making birdie on five of his last nine holes to squash any glimmer of hope those chasing him had.
Day's fourth victory, which matches Spieth's haul this season, will certainly spark a conversation about who should be the PGA TOUR Player of the Year. While Spieth's two majors would certainly trump Day's one, the FedExCup might well now turn out to be the deciding factor.
Oh, and did we mention that either Day or Spieth could supplant Rory McIlroy as the world No. 1 at this week's Deutsche Bank Championship? But Day, who will play with Spieth and Bubba Watson again in the first two rounds at TPC Boston, knows he can't obsess over it.
"It always is a goal of mine," Day said. "I can only control what I can control. I can't control them. Seeing Jordan and Rory are going to play next week, they'll most likely play well.
"That means I'll have to play well, as well, just keep this momentum going."
Jason Day’s Round 4 highlights from The Barclays
As good a summer as he's had, though, Day says his vote for Player of the Year would go to Spieth right now. But there are still three more tournaments and a $10 million bonus to award before the ballots go out, and Day is now guaranteed a top-five spot at East Lake.
"I think winning the FedExCup and maybe one or two more tournaments, that could put my name in the mix for Player of the Year," Day said. "I'm not sure. I'm going to leave that to the peers, to the people. That will definitely throw my name in the mix."
Day's peers certainly seem impressed. Stenson gave a valiant effort in the final round of The Barclays, one that would have won on many other Sunday afternoons, shooting a 66 that still left him a touchdown in arrears.
"I think there was only one player out there today," Stenson said. "I mean, Jason is full of confidence, just heating it up, making birdies. It would have taken something really special to challenge him today the way he's playing at the moment."
Watson, who held onto third in the FedExCup with his third place finish on Sunday, actually finished in Stenson's position at the RBC Canadian Open. That's where Day birdied the 18th hole to beat Watson by a single stroke.
That fact was not lost on Watson as he talked with his caddie, Ted Scott, on the 15th hole on this steamy Sunday afternoon at Plainfield.
"I said, Teddy, I'm playing good the last few months, and Jason Day is playing a thousand times better," Watson recalled. "It seems like he's my thorn right now."
His, and the rest of the PGA TOUR.
In his last five starts, which include three wins, a tie for fourth at St. Andrews and share of 12th, Day is a cumulative 73 under. His last 20 rounds on TOUR have been at par or better, second only to a 21-round streak Patrick Reed put together early in the year.
And consider this: Only three players in the last 30 years have shot 63 or better in the last two rounds to win. Jimmy Walker did it earlier this year at the Sony Open, John Cook did it at the 1997 Bob Hope Classic and Day went 63-62 this week at The Barclays.
Now, Day's off to TPC Boston and the Deutsche Bank Championship where he tied for seventh last year.
"The last six weeks, they've been crazy," Day said. "... The good thing about it is it's not over. I have this great momentum going into next week to a course I absolutely love. It's only positive stuff moving forward from here.
"Currently ranked No. 1 in the FedExCup, which is fantastic. I'm looking forward to playing at East Lake. There's three more tournaments I would love to win, and I'd love to win the FedExCup."
Jason Day news conference after winning The Barclays