Day dedicated and determined to defend PGA Championship
The countdown to the 98th PGA Championship at historic Baltusrol Golf Club is officially underway and defending champion Jason Day is more determined than ever to stake his claim to another Wanamaker Trophy.
On a beautiful, sun-soaked day in Springfield, New Jersey, Day took time out of his busy schedule to make his first-ever visit to Baltusrol during PGA Championship Media Day.
“To be able to come back and try to defend a title at a place like Baltusrol would be an absolute honor,” said Day, who sat down for an hour-or-so fireside chat (minus the fire) with PGA of America’s spokesman Julius Mason.
“It’s going to be tough with all the changes they have done. I have never seen Baltusrol before. The bunkering, the work they have done, the lengthening of the course – people have come to me and said this golf course will set up perfect for you, but I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge because I know the PGA of America gives us a fair test as professional golfers with regards to a major championship-level tournament, and I’m looking forward to trying to defend my title.”
This season, the 6-foot, 190-pound Day from Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia is off to another tremendous start having reached the world’s number-one ranking (a spot he has held for 17 straight weeks), won three PGA events (highlighted by THE PLAYERS Championship on May 15), and a tied-for eighth-place finish in last week’s U.S. Open, won by first-time major winner Dustin Johnson.
The number-one ranking in the world is a place he is determined to stay at and doesn’t plan to relinquish it any time soon. After all, fellow player and good friend Tiger Woods had a stranglehold on the top spot for a whopping 683 weeks.
“That’s like 13 years,” an astonished and joking Day said. “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, but I’m very motivated to stay at the top and to keep winning. If you’re not motivated to play in major championships, just pack your bags. It’s difficult to win tournaments, but the harder and more stressful the tournament and the course is, the better I feel it is for me. It separates the guys who want it more.”
Having yet to decide on whether he will participate in August’s Summer Olympics in Brazil, Day’s schedule from July 14 through July 31st is immensely intense.
Obviously, Day will play in golf’s third major, The Open Championship, at Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland (July 14-17), a major he narrowly missed capturing last season, finishing tied for fourth place with Jordan Spieth.
The next two weeks, he will be defending two straight titles: the RBC Canadian Open (a tournament he captured right after last year’s Open Championship with a one-stroke victory over Bubba Watson) at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario on July 21-24 and then back to New Jersey to defend his PGA Championship.
“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 a runner-up or not winning, I saw myself as a winner,” Day said. “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.
How can anyone doubt him?
The PGA Championship, golf’s last major, will take place July 28-31.
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