Australian Jason Day, the world’s No. 1 golfer, stopped by Baltusrol Golf Club on Wednesday, June 22, in advance of the 96thPGA Championship to be contested there in Springfield in exactly five weeks, July 28-31.
Day is the PGA defending champion, garnering his first major victory last August at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. This year’s event is sold out for the final day, Sunday, July 31, and weekend tickets are selling fast. Some 300 NJSGA members will serve as volunteers for the event. Purchase tickets at: http://www.pga.com/pgachampionship/home
The PGA Championship will be televised by TNT and CBS, for the 26th year in a row.
Day is motivated to remain on No. 1, where he has been ranked for 17 weeks in a row. He said he speaks with Tiger Woods who was ranked No. 1 for 683 weeks.
“That’s like 13 years,” joked Day. “I’ve got a lot more work to do, but you’ve got to start somewhere. You’ve got to sacrifice and I’m willing to sacrifice. Yeah, there are times I’m sitting on the couch and thinking that I’m No. 1 in the world. And it’s pretty cool.”
Only 214 different golfers have won majors in the history of the sport.
“I’m very motivated to stay No. 1. I’m motivated to keep winning. I’m very, very happy to win right now. If you’re not motivated to play in major championships, pack your bags Major championships have a different feel to them. I want to win as much as I can. I want to win big, top championships and majors.
“It’s difficult to win tournaments. But the harder and more stressful, the better for me. It separates the guys who want it more.”
He think she may consider retiring around age 40 if he unmotivated or not winning enough. At age 28, he already has two children and lives with wife Ellie in Columbus, Ohio, her hometown.
Day has never played Baltusrol and his busy upcoming schedule lends little time to get to the course to practice. The British Open and Canadian Opens precede the PGA Championship.
Day first broke into the world's top ten in June 2011, rising to world No. 9 after his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open. In 2014, Day won his first WGC title, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and would win it for a second time in 2016. With his 2016 win, he joined the elite company of Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy as the only multiple winners of the WGC Match Play.
He went on to win his first major tournament at the 2015 PGA Championship, scoring a record 20 strokes under par and rising to No. 3 in the world rankings.
He has won 10 times on the PGA Tour.
“Ten wins doesn’t seem like enough to me. It would be nice to be in the Hall of Fame someday,” he said.
He also addressed the vertigo that affected him at last year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay that caused him to tumble down the leaderboard. Two months later, he recovered to win the PGA Championship, and he has two tournament victories this season.
“It wasn’t the first time I wasn’t ready for it. it’s a mental barrier more than anything. I had to figure out how far I could push that barrier. I had a thumb issue three years ago that I thought was going to quit the game of golf. It was a bone bruise that went on for three months. It was a hyper extension of the thumb and it was painful. I feel pretty healthy now.”
And he also addressed the so-called rivalry among the top three, himself, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.
“It’s a relationship that’s fun to be part of more than it being a rivalry. They’re making it bigger than it is. We’re all trying to win. It’s good for the game of golf. If I’m not on top, it motivates me to be on top. We’re having a lot of fun. I know when we’re on the golf course, it’s strictly competition. “
Day sat in on a question-and-answer session that lasted an hour, with PGA of America spokesman Julius Mason. Day also answered about 10 questions from assembled media.
“After I won the RBC Canadian Open, I started looking at myself differently It changed my belief system. Instead of seeing a guy who was runner-up or not winning, I saw myself as a winner. A month later, I went to the PGA at Whistling Straits, and that week, I had confidence. Now I’m working as hard as I can to keep winning,” Day said.