But after a brilliant final round of five-under par 67 in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, the 27-year-old erased the demons to claim his first major, the Wanamaker Trophy.
Deposed number one McIlroy said it was “inevitable” that Jordan Spieth would become the world’s top-ranked player – and that Jason Day would one day be a major victor.
Jason Day won his first Major title with a three-shot win at the US PGA in Wisconsin to move up to No. 3 in the world, holding off new world No. 1 Jordan Spieth.
Spieth had the consolation of becoming the second youngest world number one behind Tiger Woods, overtaking defending champion Rory McIlroy, who finished 17th on his return from injury.
Jason Day became the first golfer in history to finish a major championship with a score of -20, the fifth Australian player to win the PGA Championship, and the first Aussie to win a major since Adam Scott at the 2013 Masters. I looked at the board and said, “Wow”. “I can’t say anything else because I’m going to cry”. After a few close calls in recent years, including a second-place finish at the Open Championship last month, Day had one of the best performances in the sport’s history.
Day’s birdie on No. 7 extended his lead to four shots over Spieth.
The Masters, held in April in Augusta, Georgia, is by far the most popular golf event among bettors, generating about twice the total handle of the U.S. Open, said Jeff Sherman, assistant sports book manager at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
“To be able to play the way I did today in tough conditions with Jordan in the group – he was the favourite – to be able to play the way I did was awesome”.
Rory is 125/1 as well to win all four majors in 2016, 8/13 for a blank, 7/4 for one, 15/2 for two and 40/1 for three. Spieth is without question the best in the world, while McIlroy is a stud and Day is coming into his own at 27 years old.
An unfortunate bogey on the fourth hole for Spieth made the lead three for Day, a lead he would continue to build on.
“The experiences that I’ve had in the past with previous major finishes has definitely helped me prepare myself for a moment like this”, said Day, who broke down in tears after confirming his victory on the 18th hole. He carded a 68 to complete his 16 rounds at this year’s major tournaments in 54 under, another record he took off Tiger. “Just thinking about it, knowing that I was very confident going into the round, feeling good about myself and feeling good about how I was driving the ball, how I was hitting shots into the greens, and especially how I was putting”.
Spieth was quick to pay tribute to Day, admitting he was surprised at how aggressively his playing partner had attacked the course.