Jason Day Learns To Balance Golf and Life

Jason Day is learning to balance the demands of his success.

Jason Day has a lot of balls in the air these days. After winning his first major championship and getting to No.1 in the world – a title he subsequently lost to Jordan Spieth – Day found that he had to learn to balance a few more things in his life.

Day’s now getting to be a world class juggler as well as a world class golfer, rotating balls in the air named “family,” “golf,” “fans,” “media” and the rest. It’s a good problem, but as busy as he stays, he knows he isn’t as much in demand as some other players are.

“Rory, Rickie are very popular,” he said at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. “They’re the popular kids in school. Jordan is getting that popular, starting to become a lot more popular, and I’m just a nerd in the back, which is fine.”

All in the media center laughed. He knows he’s not a nerd. But Jason Day likes to say he’s a pretty boring human being. However, to hear him talk, that’s the last thing anyone would think. With less education than most of his peers, he is wise in the ways of the world and extremely articulate. Jason Day understands the world and is learning how to navigate it.

“Dealing with this stuff, it is difficult,” he said about being a world No.1 and a major champion. “There’s so much people are wanting. The timing issue is hard because everyone wants a piece of you. I wish you could multiply yourself because there’s not enough of us to really do it.”

He outlined his schedule in a recent day which included spending time at the golf course until six and then taking his son Dash to the park to play.

“Let’s face it, if you’re the best player in the world at the time, you’re so consumed in your own self with time with regards to practice, media, fans, sponsor obligations,” he took a breath. “ It’s non-stop every day.”

Jack Nicklaus is one who managed it and was able to carve out perhaps the best ever career in golf. He promised his wife early on that he would not be gone more than two weeks at a time. He and Barbara worked hard to balance golf and life as well as work and life.

“You’re tired by the end of the day, but you got to suck it up because the more I neglect one side of those is the more that, you know, sooner or later, will start kind of moving away from me,” he explained. “ I don’t want to miss Dash growing up or Lucy growing up, so I can’t neglect that, and then obviously on top of it, trying to be the best player in the world, you can’t neglect that, either.”

He said Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, being single, don’t have the same kinds of obligations that come with a family, not that Day is wishing his life to be any different than it is.

“I never had a dad growing up, and that parenting atmosphere wasn’t around when I was a kid,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I’m there for Dash and Lucy.”

He is also taking the long view, looking at a long career, not a week or a quarter or even a year.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and I got to just keep working towards getting better each and every year,” he added. “Hopefully, as time goes on, I’ll start to become a lot more of player that contends each and every week, and that’s the main goal, is to be able to contend each and every week and be like the Rorys and Jordans and Tigers and Phil.”

The oddsmakers are putting Jason Day in contention this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and ProGolfNow’s Sam Belden seeded Day at 6th in his weekly Power Rankings. Follow Day’s Bay Hill progress here at ProGolfNow.