Family man Day relaxed ahead of PGA Tour title defence

Darren Walton |

Jason Day is defending his PGA title at the Byron Nelson and adopting a different approach.
Jason Day is defending his PGA title at the Byron Nelson and adopting a different approach.

Jason Day is borrowing a line from Scottie Scheffler’s best-selling playbook as he attempts to successfully defend a PGA Tour title for the first time at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson in Texas.

Day is back this week at TPC Craig Ranch, the scene of both his maiden PGA Tour victory in 2010 and drought-breaking 13th last year.

The revitalised former world No.1 says he’s excited to be defending a title for the first time in almost six years.

“It’s been a while, but I think the game is kind of shaping up for a good summer. It will be interesting,” Day told AAP before admitting the days of fretting over winning and losing were over.

“Family comes first, golf, then health. As long as family comes first, that’s all that matters.”

That’s why the father of five admires Scheffler so much.

A devout Christian, a stress-free Scheffler believes he is playing for a higher force, which is clearly working.

The world No.1 has racked up four wins and a second from his past five events, including becoming the first player ever to defend the Players Championship crown and first since Tiger Woods to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players and Masters titles in the same year.

“Looking at Scottie Scheffler right now he is playing some of the best golf we’ve seen in a long time, probably since the Tiger days,” Day said.

“He seems like a very well-balanced person. It’s very difficult to do.

“For me personally, I’m just trying to find that balance in amongst professional life and personal life.

“It’s easy to find motivation when you have a chip on your shoulder because like people are talking against you and all that stuff. Certain players play well with that, but I feel like that’s a limited period of time where that can happen.

“I’ve been out here 17 years now, so I feel like I’m still learning and I’ll never stop learning.

“I’ll always evolve (as a golfer) and I’ll try and get better at it.”

Day sat atop the rankings for 51 weeks in 2016-17, making the 35-year-old the ninth-longest-serving world No.1 in history.

But the one-time major winner now says he was playing for years for the wrong reasons and hopes his love of the game and passion for hard work will yield more big results in the future.

A win on Sunday would almost certainty cement Day’s place on the Australian Olympics team for the Paris Games in August.

“Probably looking back on it, I wish I would have gone to Rio (in 2016),” he said on Thursday.

“I had one of those spots and at the time we were having kids, and then obviously there was that (Zika virus) scare, so I was kind of like a little bit freaked out about that.

“I wish I would have gone.

“But if I get the opportunity to go and represent the country, Australia, and get to go to Paris, that would be an absolute blast, an honour to do that.

“To be able to call yourself an Olympian would be even better. If I get the opportunity, I’m 100 per cent going.” 

Fellow Australians Adam Scott, Min Woo Lee, Aaron Baddeley and Harrison Endycott are also in this week’s field.

AAP