In an age n golf where eras last weeks instead of months, it's Jason Day's time.
Welcome to the Day Era.
The Aussie picked up his third win in four starts on Sunday, winning The Barclays by six shots where the final margin really didn't reflect how far ahead Day was of his peers. The PGA champion shot 63-62 on the weekend at Plainfield Country Club to post 19-under 261, tying a tournament record.
A 15-under weekend will win a lot of golf tournaments, but to blow away a field of the best 125 this season on the PGA Tour? That's quite the feat. In fact, Day is just the third player in PGA Tour history to shoot 126 or less on the weekend en route to victory.
In his last five starts, Day is 73 under par. He finished a shot out of the playoff at the British Open, then bounced back the next week to birdie the final three holes to win the RBC Canadian Open. After a modest T-12 finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Day finally got his major, beating Jordan Spieth by three shots at Whistling Straits to hoist the PGA Championship. Now this.
The 27-year-old is making winning look easier each time he does it.
"It's not easy," Day said after his win. "Even though it may look easy, it's not easy."
Day has been the kind of player who has needed time to figure out how to take the next step. However, that learning curve has accelerated dramatically since that 72nd hole birdie putt came up a few feet short at St. Andrews. On that Wisconsin Sunday against Spieth, Day showed little sign of nerves, getting out to a hot start that impressed the now former world No. 1.
"He played like he had won seven or eight majors before," Spieth said after the PGA. "There was a pep in his step and it was going to be his day."
Rather than pull back on the throttle, Day kept his foot on the gas. He hit a 382-yard drive to the par-5 11th, setting up a wedge for his approach that all but secured the Wanamaker trophy. Coming down the stretch, Day insisted on hitting driver, literally flexing his muscle to put more pressure on his peerless pursuer than was on himself to finally seal a major.
Fast forward two Sundays and Day insisted on the same philosophy. Up five shots heading to the final tee, Day took out driver on the 307-yard uphill finisher. Day could have hit a pair of wedge shots to the green. Hell, he could have hit putter a few times. But Day went with the big stick, cutting off the dogleg and landing in the rough, pin high. A chip and a putt later and Day had his winning birdie.
Day has figured out that he runs his best race when he sprints through the tape, not pulls up when the heat is decided. That philosophy may be the best for the FedEx Cup playoffs, where no player in the regular season top five has won the season-long title and its $10 million prize since Tiger Woods in 2009. Whereas Sergio Garcia is skipping the first two playoff events to take a one-week shot at making the Tour Championship, Day intends to plow through the playoff field.
If Day can make it three in a row at next week's Deutsche Bank Championship, he could become the new No. 1 player in the world. He'd need both Jordan Spieth and a returning Rory McIlroy to keep off the medal stand, but Day is a tournament away from asserting himself as the best player on the planet.
Seems like a style that works for him. Why mess with success?