Day's tough life journey finally leads to major win

Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:44pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

KOHLER, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Bruised but toughened by a difficult childhood, Australia's Jason Day endured several close calls at the majors before finally landing one with a three-shot victory at the PGA Championship on Sunday.

The 27-year-old from Rockhampton in Queensland led from start to finish in the final round at Whistling Straits, closing with a five-under-par 67 before savoring the celebrations with his caddie and long-time coach, Colin Swatton.

"The path that I was on (it) was never expected for me to be here where I was today," an emotional Day told reporters after keeping at bay American world number two Jordan Spieth as he posted a major record low of 20-under 268.

"I lose my dad at 12, and then meet Colin and have him walk the journey with me and have him walk up the 18th hole with me was just a special, special thing, that I could never forget."

Day's road to major champion was a long and difficult one. By his own admission, he went "off the rails a little bit" after his father died of cancer.

He began drinking alcohol and getting into fights at school, convincing his mother that drastic action was needed.

She sold the family home and sent him to Kooralbyn, a boarding school in Queensland whose alumni included Australia's first Masters champion Adam Scott and Olympic gold medalist Cathy Freeman.

It was there that Day met Swatton, who quickly became a father figure to the young Australian as well as his coach.   Continued...

Aug 16, 2015; Sheboygan, WI, USA; Jason Day hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the 2015 PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports