When you see Jason Day, you see the top-tier PGA professional that he has become. What you don’t see is what he had to overcome to get to where he is today. So what did Day have to get through to get to where he is? What obstacles did he have to make his way over, around, and through? Let me tell you…
Jason Day was born in Beaudesert, Queensland Australia. At the time of his birth, the population of Beaudesert was about 3,000 people. It was a small, low populated, impoverished area. Needless to say, the Day family themselves were very poverty-stricken. Their situation was so terrible that they would make weekly trips to a nearby landfill to scavenge everything and anything they could use in their home.
One day, when Day was very young, he and his father found a cut-down golf club and tennis ball at this landfill. His father saw him hit it. His father was amazed. Day claims his father turned to his mother at that moment and said, “This guy’s gonna be a champion one day.” I’d certainly say his father was correct…
When Day turned six, his father enrolled him in a nearby golf club. From that day on, Day and his father went to the course every afternoon. He would be there from the time he got out of school until it got dark out. Every. Single. Day.
As Day got older, he started enjoying the game even more. He was getting better and better, winning more and more junior tournaments. Day said, “I got addicted to the process of getting better.” All seemed to be well and good.
When Day was 12-years-old, everything changed…
Alvin Day, Jason’s father, passed away from cancer. Being so close to his father, Day did not handle the death well. It was like his strongest life connection had been abruptly cut. He was lost. Day’s mother states, “He went off of the rails.” At 12-years-old, Day started drinking. He also started to make trouble and get in fights.
Day had forgotten about golf. He did not care about the sport anymore. Once things got very out of hand, Day’s mother decided to step in and explain to Jason that he had a gift and he was wasting it. She decided she would mortgage their home and take the entire sum of the life insurance money they got after his father’s death, and use it to send him to Kooralbyn International School. This boarding school had a golf course and program attached to the school. This was not an easy decision for the Day family. Jason had two sisters, and in order to pay for his schooling, his mother had to get his sisters agree to forgo their own schooling and take a chance on Jason’s golf ability. Well, it looks like that chance worked out…
At school, Day met Colin Swatton. Swatton coached Day when he was in school, and is now his caddie. Day calls Swatton a “life changer.” He says Swatton is the reason he is where he is now. Day needed direction in his life. He needed someone to believe in him. Swatton was that guy. In a sense, Swatton picked up the father figure role after Day’s father passed.
Together the two practiced every waking second they had. At school, Day was up before everyone and stayed longer than everyone else.
It is safe to say, Day turned his life around. Now, his career is not over yet but he has already accomplished more than anyone in his position ever should. He looked his fear and adversity right in the eyes and fought it. Not only did Day’s life depend on his golf career, but his family’s did as well. They gave up everything for him and he did not let them down. He especially did not let down his father, the man who showed him the game. Day has become one of top golfers in the world, and by no means is he done yet.
In today’s game many pro golfers grow up wealthy. They could always afford lessons and coaches. Day was just the opposite. It took pure desire and determination to get to where he is.
To this day, Jason Day lives by his father’s advice when dealing with adversity. His father taught him to be strong and fight and to never roll over or give up. His father’s words were, “Never say die.”