Day clinging to his No. 1 priority

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When Jason Day was 14 years old he walked into Colin Swatton’s office and asked a question few 14-year-olds would even consider.

“He asked if he could be the world No. 1, I said absolutely,” said Swatton, who would become Day’s coach, caddie and confidant. “At any given moment, kids want to ask that question, but it’s how they present the question, and he presented it at the right time.”

Unlike the vast majority of players, Day has never been shy about explaining how badly he covets the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, and although his victory on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Championship won’t propel the Australian back to that mathematical promisede land, it was a steppingstone that is impossible to ignore.

There’s no prize money that comes with being world No. 1, no trophy or FedExCup points. In fact, for the better part of the last two decades the top ranking was something of an afterthought, the byproduct of Tiger Woods’ stranglehold on the top spot.

The best evidence of this is the fact that Phil Mickelson, a World Golf Hall of Fame player with a five-pack of major championships, has never held the No. 1 ranking and, if he’s being honest, probably doesn’t feel like it’s a glaring hole in his resume.

But that relative indifference has changed in recent years. Dustin Johnson, the current world No. 1, has made it clear how important the OWGR math is to him, albeit in his own subtle way; and Justin Thomas, who could have overtaken DJ with a top-12 finish this week, conceded earlier this year that the prospect of becoming the world’s best brings with it an entirely new set of pressures.

For Day, who first became world No. 1 in 2015 and has held that spot for a combined 51 weeks, the top spot has always been more than the sum of its parts. He doesn’t crave the No. 1 ranking for the attention or some sort of bragging rights. For Day this goes much deeper.

Source : The Golf Channel

posted at 07 May 2018 16:20:02

 



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