Day’s Aussie return firms for revved-up Brisbane PGA

Murray Wenzel |

Former world No.1 Jason Day is a chance to return to play in Australia this year.
Former world No.1 Jason Day is a chance to return to play in Australia this year.

It’s been seven years but “the timing is right” for Jason Day to finally return for Australia’s summer of golf.

That’s PGA of Australia boss Gavin Kirkman’s belief, the chief executive confident the former world No.1 will tee it up at Brisbane’s Royal Queensland in November.

Compatriots Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith have been strong supporters of their home events despite busy US-based schedules.

But Day hasn’t featured since finishing fifth at the 2017 Australian Open.

Jason Day.
Jason Day attracted huge galleries when he last played the Australian Open in 2017. (David Moir/AAP PHOTOS)

Even that was a rare appearance for the Queensland father of five, who has preferred to remain in the United States and famously travel to events in a motorhome.

As world No.1 he skipped the 2016 Olympics due to health concerns, a decision this week he said he regrets after resurgent form saw him earn a ticket to the Paris Games next month.

And the 36-year-old reckons he’s ready for more travel, recently indicating a desire to return to Queensland with his family for the first time and contest the Australian PGA Championship from November 21-24.

Kirkman said only the birth of his fifth child last year had denied Australian golf an earlier Day return. 

“The timing’s right for Jason to come home and play,” Kirkman said on Tuesday of the world No.27. 

“He was very close to coming home last year to play but had child No.5 and stayed at home with his beautiful wife Ellie.

“But he’s keen and at this course (Royal Queensland) he’s played before, in his home state.”

Min Woo Lee, who will play alongside Day in Paris, has already confirmed his Brisbane return after a mesmeric four days last year captured hearts and his first Australian PGA title.

The event, co-sanctioned by Europe’s DP World Tour, on Tuesday secured a new title partner in BMW. 

It’s the company’s first golf partnership in the southern hemisphere.

The course is set to host Brisbane’s Olympic golf in 2032. 

That, combined with a high-profile commercial partner, can elevate the already popular event that has had to fight hard to attract foreign stars.

“It’ll play a big part; it is a drawcard,” Kirkman said.

“We know we’ve got golf courses equal to the best in the world and are capable of putting on great events.

“It’s really important they (the rest of the golf world) are seeing what we can do in Australia.”

Anthony Quayle, attempting to crack the PGA Tour in Japan, admits it would be a thrill to have fellow Hills Golf Academy graduate Day in the field in Brisbane.

“We would always hear rumours about what Jason had done, all the bits of history he had at Hills,” Quayle said. 

“It’s exciting for me; he was a hero growing up and for everybody else, someone of his calibre, it allows you to compete against the best. 

“The goal’s always been to get to the US, but with the shift in the pro golf landscape it’s not as clear on how to get there as it once was.

“So my best opportunity is to come back and play (the PGA and Australian Open).”