The time Jason Day hid in a bunker to avoid boarding-school expulsion

Jason Day credits boarding school for helping him out of a bad place in his life, but the opportunity he had there nearly finished in one night.

Day said his mom made the “ultimate sacrifice” to send him away for school at a time when his life was spiraling. His father had died. One of his sisters had run away from home. He was drinking and getting into fights at school.

“Boarding school was a good thing for me because it taught me, like, how to grow up and what you had to do, like wash, how to wash clothes and how to cook for yourself and all that stuff too,” Day told GOLF’s Dylan Dethier on the first episode of Breakthrough, a new series where we sit down with golf’s most interesting people about the most pivotal moments of their golfing lives.

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“So I grew up pretty quick.”

However, that didn’t mean Day wasn’t off committing the shenanigans many teenagers do when they are away from their parents. In fact, one night, it nearly cost him getting kicked out of his boarding school.

The school, Hills International College, was in the middle of nowhere, Day said. But, he and his friends would often sneak out to the “Blue Light Disco.”

“It was just like this little area where everyone would come and underage people would go and dance and listen to music,” Day said.

But one time, he said, they got caught.

“We got a phone call — because at the time, like, we didn’t have any iPhones or anything. We got a call on a crappy cell phone that like, ‘The dorm master is looking for you. You guys are screwed,'” Day said. “They locked the gates and the security guard is driving his car looking through the trees and stuff.”

The group tried to make an escape from the guard. Day was lucky to be running behind someone because his friend in front ran into a barbed wire fence and cut himself.

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It’s here we need to explain that the Hills International College offered a golf program, in which Day was enrolled in. Because of that, the school is surrounded by a golf course.

That’s why, after the group hopped the fence, they immediately jumped into a bunker.

“We’re laying like this in a bunker. And you can see the light shining over you like this,” he said, motioning over his head.

Had the wrong person found them, the consequences could have been dire for the teens. However, it was Day’s golf coach, Collin Swatton, who got to them first.

“We’re like, ‘Hey, man, like, what should we do?'” Day recalled. “And he’s like, ‘You guys just go to your dorm.'”

So that’s what they did. From there, they closed the doors and pretended they were asleep.

Day says ultimately, they did get “into a little bit of trouble” but it certainly could have been much worse for the future World No. 1 and major winner.

For more from Day’s interview on Breakthrough with Dylan Dethier, check out the full episode below.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at