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Sunday, November 24, 2013

A New Day Dawning?

Yeah, I know it's a corny post title... but it's appropriate.

In case you didn't stay up to watch the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf (which I did -- the victory is so fresh that it hasn't even hit the web as I write this), Jason Day won the individual title over Thomas Bjorn by two strokes and, after Adam Scott posted an unbelievable round of 66 -- tied for the low score of the day and 4 better than anybody else in the Top10 -- the two Aussies blew the field away in the team competition, winning by 10 shots over the second-place US team.

As we like to say over here in the US, Jason just double-dipped.

Adam Scott and Jason Day before tournament

The Aussie commentators were talking about how this win would become the defining win of his career. Normally I think you have to wait a while before making that kind of pronouncement, but it may be justified in Jason's case. And it's not just because Jason hasn't won in a couple of years. This win didn't come in a vacuum.

When it comes to majors and huge tournaments, Jason Day has been posting some of the most consistent scores of any player. He simply hasn't been able to get over the hump in the final round -- not because he played poorly, but because someone else just played better. When you keep falling short over and over, it can get in your head a little because you question whether you have what it takes.

This week Jason answered every challenge that came his way. He only shot -1 in the final round, but this time he outlasted his challengers. He now knows he has enough in the tank to get the job done.

This is the same course where Jason fell victim to his own emotions a couple of years back in the Presidents Cup. This is a major-caliber course, and can anyone argue that he ever played under more emotional pressure than he did this week? After losing family in the Philippines before the tournament, to play this well under the tough course conditions of the final round has to have a huge effect on his confidence. He now knows he not only has enough in the tank to get the job done, but he can control the incredibly powerful emotions that would prevent him from doing it.

That's huge, folks. Some people NEVER learn that. Jason now has a weapon that most of his competitors only dream of having, a weapon that no sports psychologist can give you. To paraphrase an old commercial, you can only get this weapon the old-fashioned way. You have to earn it.

When Jason heads out for the majors and other big events in 2014, he's not going to be the same player he was before this week. This is a man whose entire perspective on golf and life has been dramatically changed. After this, majors will be relatively easy.

So the players on the PGA Tour better prepare themselves. I don't know exactly how this is going to play out -- such a dramatic epiphany is going to drain him emotionally for a while, so he's going to need some serious rest after this victory to process everything and recharge his emotional batteries. But when he finally recovers, I suspect this new Day will be blindingly bright.

The photo came from this page at the site.

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