Jason Day: ‘I did not know how to handle being No. 1’

October 19, 2017

Jason Day started 2017 as the World’s No. 1-ranked golfer but has fallen all the way to ninth in the months since, still searching for his first victory since the 2016 Players Championship. He’s had his share of obstacles to battle during that time frame with injuries, his mother’s health and, as he said this week, the pressure of being the top-ranked golfer in the world.

Day’s most human and revealing moment came at the WGC Match Play this summer, when he broke down in front of reporters while announcing his mother was battling lung cancer. He withdrew from the tournament.

“My mum getting lung cancer was very difficult,” Day told reporters Tuesday at this week’s CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in South Korea. “I don’t have any grandparents. I don’t have my dad. I don’t have anyone. If I lost my mum all I would have would be my two sisters.”

His mother underwent successful surgery, and Day said Tuesday he’s now able to “focus back on golf.”

“Hopefully the distractions that I’ve had on the golf course and off the golf course can go away, and I can start focusing on getting back to climbing back to No. 1,” he said. “I think I was a little burnt out from 2015 and 2016. I did not know how to handle being No. 1 at that time. The next time I get there, I will handle it a little bit differently.”

Day won five times in 2015 and three times in ’16, the last of which was his Players victory. He finished second at the PGA Championship in 2016, and his best start of 2017 was his runner-up finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson, where he lost to Billy Horschel in a playoff.