Masters runner-up finish in 2011 turned Day's career around

Tue Apr 5, 2016 2:27pm EDT
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By Tim Wharnsby

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - A disillusioned Jason Day arrived five years ago for his first Masters but he was hardly full of eager anticipation about the prospect of finally playing Augusta National competitively.

Rather, a glum Day contemplated quitting golf as he sat across the road from Augusta National in his customized bus with his agent, sports psychologist and wife Ellie, his two Dachshunds nearby.

The Aussie was disheartened after mediocre performances in his three previous tournaments, but his team persuaded him to persevere and try to have fun and enjoy the Augusta National experience as though it might be his one and only time at the storied venue.

The pep talk worked. He finished tied for second, two shots behind South African winner Charl Schwartzel, and has never looked back.

"Then I loved the game again," Day, 28, said. "It's emotional highs and lows in the game of golf, and times when you're going through very, very rough times and you're hating the game, usually it's because you're not working hard enough, and it was."

Now Day is lauded for his work ethic.

"He went from the ninth best player in the world to like Tiger Woods, unbeatable," said compatriot Adam Scott, who had a practice round with Day on Tuesday. "Jason is really, really driven.

"For a long time he couldn't put his finger on it and then all of a sudden he did. Jason just got it all figured out."   Continued...

Mar 27, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Jason Day of Australia plays against Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland during round six of the World Golf Championship-Dell Match Play at the Austin Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports