Jason Day will represent Australia alongside Adam Scott at this week’s World Cup of Golf, but you’d certainly have forgiven the PGA Tour pro had he decided to drop out.
That’s because Day lost eight family members — his grandmother, an uncle and six cousins — in Typhoon Haiyan, which killed nearly 4,000 people in the Philippines on Nov. 6. Day confirmed the news Sunday, in a statement released by the Tour.
“I am deeply saddened,” the statement read. “My family and I are thankful for all who have reached out with their prayers and concern.
“We feel devastated for all who have been affected by this horrific tragedy. While I understand the media’s interest in this matter and hope that any coverage can spread awareness to assist with the relief efforts that continue in the Philippines, I hope that all will respect my family’s privacy during this difficult time.”
“My daughter has been updating him, but I don’t want to bother him because he has commitments,” she told the paper. “There will be plenty of time to talk after (the World Cup). He’s representing his country, so I don’t want him worrying about anything apart from golf.”
According to the Herald Sun, Day’s aunt survived, despite being swept away to another village by storm waters, and another aunt’s family survived “after binding themselves together with rope and taking refuge in an attic.” Day had not met the family members who were killed in the typhoon, but his family says that doesn’t make the loss any less tragic.
“They were family,” Day’s sister, Yanna, told the paper. “There has been talk about whether the rest of us should go back to the Philippines to help, but it seems like we can’t do anything.”
Day finished 14th in last year’s FedEx Cup standings on the strength of three top-10 finishes in majors, including a tie for second at the U.S. Open and a third-place finish at the Masters. The World Cup of Golf begins Thursday at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.