Day’s day at Bay Hill
By Peter Santo
Jason Day grew up idolizing Tiger Woods, and much was made out of the story that Day asked his childhood idol for advice on mental toughness. Day certainly showed a lot of mental toughness on Sunday, holding on to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by one shot.
While Day went wire to wire for the victory, it did not come without some Sunday drama. Day needed to get up and down from the greenside bunker on 18 to seal the victory. It was a shot that would make most amateurs crazy, a downhill bunker shot with a water hazard behind the pin.
Day made it look easy, splashing it to about five feet, and sunk the putt to seal the win.
“I knew it was a good shot,” Day said. “It was exactly what I wanted to do.”
Day showed an ability that only the best players in the world possess, the ability to win without their A game. Day struggled with his ball striking on the weekend, but was able to rely on his short game down the stretch.
“My iron play was very, very poor over the weekend but one thing that helped a lot was my short game,” said Day.
“I holed a lot of shots out this week, moreso than I’ve ever done in my career and it’s all that hard work that I’ve been putting in from the start of the season on my short game because I know that that’s one strength that I hold. If I have a good short game it gives me a boost of confidence and gives me the confidence that I can go out there even when I don’t have my best stuff with my full game and my swing can go out there and play well,” Day added.
While it was just six starts ago that Day last won, that victory came last fall at the BMW Championship, and many were wondering what was wrong.
“Everyone was asking what’s wrong, what’s going on, why aren’t you playing well?” he said. “I just kept on saying to myself, kept on saying to the people, the fans, the media, just be patient, I’m just going through the process and I’m going to keep working hard. Things take time.”
Day has now done something Woods has never done– win wire to wire at Bay Hill.
“I never knew that,” Day said, laughing. “I will text him that tonight.”