MCKINNEY, TEXAS – MAY 14: Jason Day of Australia poses for photos with the trophy after winning the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch on May 14, 2023 in McKinney, Texas. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
Winning my 13th PGA TOUR title with my family around was very, very special. I mean it’s been over five years since I last won and our family has expanded, and we’ve grown to four kids and we’ve got another one on the way. It’s just that much more special winning in front of my wife Ellie and the kids. And to win on Mother’s Day and have my late mum’s name on the back of my caddie’s bib, I couldn’t have asked for more.
I was in tears for a little bit after realising I’d won the AT&T Byron Nelson. To think about what my mum, Adenil had gone through from 2017 to her passing last year due to cancer, it was very emotional. On top of it all, I had back injuries that was going on in my life.
To be honest, I was very close to calling it quits a few years ago. There were times where I thought I’m like done playing the game because of the stress it was putting on me and what it was doing to my health. Mentally, I was not there and I wasn’t confident. I honestly felt like I didn’t have the game and maybe I was one of those guys who like had a really good career and then injuries hurt me.
I didn’t tell Ellie any of this and I was okay with it because it was a very stressful part of my life. Ellie never gave up on me trying to get back to the winner’s circle. She was always pushing me to try and get better. I also have to thank a lot of my team too because people like my trainers, my caddie and my coach Chris Como, they took a lot of heat and negative comments from me. They were the support group I needed to push me through the difficult times and it was very important because if you don’t have the correct people in place, it’s very difficult to have any success in golf. I know it’s an individual sport but you need to have the right team.
It feels strange to have a trophy again and I don’t quite know how else to explain it. To go through what I went through and then to be able to win again is very pleasing, and I know there’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes that a lot of people haven’t seen. That’s just the competition part of the journey and trying to strive to get better.
I’m glad I got to work with Chris some years back. It actually began when Tiger (Woods) was going through the chipping yips, and he’d asked me out to his place to kind of go over chipping techniques. Chris was working with Tiger and he’d seen a ton of 3D bio testing of my chipping and they wanted to pick my brain about what I thought about that stuff.
Coming out of that meeting, I could tell Chris knew a lot about the game and knew on a deeper level in regard to how the body works and how he thought about what the club should be doing. He’s very switched on. Sometimes, I would be up at 2am in the morning thinking about my golf swing, and I’d be calling Chris and saying, ‘hey, man, I’ve got this thought, what do you think’, and then I’d go out and practice the next day. The first year and a half, we just worked on body motion to actually try and swing it in a way where I could feel decent. Now I feel like the swing is moving in the right direction to the point where I can just go at it as hard as I want.
The highs and lows of golf is interesting. You definitely learn a lot about yourself through the lows more so than the highs. I learned I can still handle the pressure and focus, and I’ve still got the game to win. A lot of my success at the Byron Nelson was based off a lot of groundwork, six months ago, a year ago, or two years ago, that built the game to where it is today, where I can succeed on a level like this. I know that delayed gratification is probably the best feeling of all time. Instant gratification is great, but delayed gratification is the best.
I think to go from being a good golfer to a great golfer and winning major championships, you definitely need to win more than just one major. I definitely think my game is good enough to win now on any given week and to be dominant like a Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler or Rory McIlroy. I just need to build on the consistency.
The competitor that I have inside of me, I’m just trying to push through. At the point when I was talking to a therapist because I’ve gone through a lot of stuff, I kept on visualizing myself in the winner’s circle, and it is nice to be able to be a winner again.
Note: Fans can watch Jason Day and the stars from the PGA TOUR on Eurosport.