DUBLIN, Ohio – Jason Day played in his first Presidents Cup in 2011 in his native Australia. This week, he’s the hometown guy again.
He’s just your typical Australian hockey fan who can drive himself to work at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Day lives in another Columbus suburb; he met his wife in Northeast Ohio while playing in a junior tournament.
“You know, a lot of people don’t give Columbus enough credit,” Day said. “I think this area, Dublin and Columbus area itself, with the Buckeyes and the Blue Jackets, Columbus is a really great place to raise a family. I really enjoy coming back home, and finally, for the first time, other than being home in Australia, I enjoy coming back to my home.
“I lived in Orlando and Fort Worth and it just didn’t feel like it was that special place. Here, it feels special.”
He’s on the enemy side in the 12-man U.S. Team vs. International Team Presidents Cup competition which starts Thursday, but Day is a member at Muirfield. He estimates that he’s played the course “30-50” times this year, including at the Memorial tournament. In downplaying his home-course advantage, he also provided a rare clue that he really isn’t from ’round these parts.
“Most of these blokes have played out here,” Day said. “They are very familiar with the course.”
Day has befriended several Columbus Blue Jackets players at Muirfield and has invited the entire International Team to the Jackets Friday night season opener vs. Calgary. Ohio State’s rockstar football coach, Urban Meyer, lives on the course at Muirfield and has struck up a friendship with Day, too. Through Meyer, Day knows that Ohio State’s punter is an Australian named Cameron Johnston, giving Day an automatic favorite player.
“And (Johnson) had a really good game last week, too,” Day said.
Day just an ordinary Columbus guy — as far as 25-year old millionaires and rising stars go.
Day didn’t play well in the Memorial last May, finishing three-over and tied for 41st. He turned it on from there, as he exited the Memorial ranked No. 25 in the world and takes on Muirfield in a competitive environment again at No. 16, having finished in the top 15 in four of his last five tournaments.
He was third in the Masters last April and tied for second at the U.S. Open in June. He’s knocking on the door of that really big win and of jumping into the elite.
This week, seven of the world’s top 11 are on the U.S. team. As Day said, “their whole bloody team” is made up of superstars.
Day is headed that way, though, and another big stage this weekend provides another opportunity for Day to prove himself.
“Obviously we are the clear underdogs, but we have a lot of talented guys on our (International) team,” Day said. “It would mean a whole lot, to the to myself, but just to the whole team and to the rest of the world that follow The Presidents Cup, because it’s not– we are not winning it for just us. We are winning it for the rest of the world, which we enjoy that, and hopefully by Sunday, it’s close and we can make it a good show for the people.”