Day’s winning passion
It was his seventh win in his past 17 starts on the PGA Tour, took his 2016 earnings to $A7.63 million, and confirmed his world No.1 ranking.
But winning the Players Championship – regarded as golf’s unofficial fifth major – did little to satisfy Jason Day.
“This is great to be The Players champion, but now once tonight is done and tomorrow starts, it’s another week that I have to get ready and prepare for the next tournament that’s coming up, because it’s never enough,” he said after finishing on 15-under par, four shots clear of American Kevin Chappell.
“Winning is never enough, and I’ve got to try and do it as much as I can before my time is over.”
The Queenslander opened with a course record-equalling nine-under par 63, and then set a 36-hole record of 15-under.
Like the rest of the field, Day struggled on the flint-hard greens on the final two rounds, but still managed to maintain his buffer, although it was reduced to two strokes twice over the final 18 holes.
He shot a sloppy 38 on his first nine holes of the final round, but made birdies on the 10th, 12th and 16th to put the issue beyond doubt.
It was Day’s third win of the year and 10th of his career. And he has won seven of his past 17 starts, a serious stretch of domination when you consider that former world No.1s Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott are the only players to win more than one event in that time.
Scott said Day’s seven wins – in the PGA Championship, the Canadian Open, the World Golf Championships Match Play, The Barclays and BMW Championship during the FedExCup playoffs, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and now the Players Championship – made the effort even more meritorious.
“That’s Tiger-esque, that kind of a run,” said Scott, in reference to Tiger Woods.
Day, who will take two weeks off before returning for The Memorial, which is played at Muirfield Village, about 30 minutes from his home in Ohio, acknowledged advice given to him by Woods had been pivotal in taking his game to another level.
He also said Woods’ 79 PGA Tour wins (including 14 majors) made his own 10 victories look sub-standard, but added he was determined to have a career that would be remembered.
“I look at that, 10 PGA Tour wins, and I say to myself, that’s not enough,” the 28-year-old said. “It’s just 10. I want more than 10. I look at that, and that number is not a lot.
“I look at Tiger and he’s 79 or 80 or whatever it is, and Phil (Mickelson) is up there, and I’m just like, OK, I want to be able to be looked back on and know that he was one of the greats in the game.”