Arizona: Jason Day had heard all the criticism, that a player of his undoubted talent should have won a lot more than just one PGA Tour title even though he is just 26.
It felt like a long time coming but finally, on Sunday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, the Australian secured his second victory on the US circuit by beating Frenchman Victor Dubuisson after 23 holes.
“I’ve worked very, very hard in the off-season,” Day told reporters after knocking in a four-foot birdie putt to clinch a one-up win in the title match at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona.
“I’ve worked very hard on my physical fitness and mental fitness and it certainly paid off this week at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
“It feels like it’s been a long time coming since my last win. I’ve heard things in the media saying he’s only got one win.”
Day’s maiden PGA Tour victory came at the 2010 Byron Nelson Championship, and he had come very close to adding a second before this week and made a habit of performing at his best when the pressure was at its most intense.
Since he turned professional in 2006, he has recorded six top-10s at the majors, including three runner-up spots.
In November, he won the coveted World Cup of Golf by two strokes at Royal Melbourne, along with the team title in partnership with Adam Scott.
“I’ve had a lot of consistent finishes in big events and obviously I said to myself I’ve got to keep working hard and work, work, work, work, work smart,” said Day.
“As long as I don’t give up and keep pushing through, it [a win] will happen again, and hopefully happen in bunches. It took me nearly three years, I guess. I got my second win finally. But just that hard work has paid off.”
Day became the second Australian to win the Match Play title following Geoff Ogilvy, who triumphed in 2006 and 2009.
Asked whether he had been at all disappointed with the progress of his career, Day replied: “No, no, no. A career is very long in golf.
“You see guys like Adam Scott, Justin Rose winning major championships in their early 30s. You see guys winning in their 20s like Rory and Tiger.
“The biggest thing for myself is just to understand I’m not Rory [McIlroy]. I’m not Tiger [Woods]. I’m not Adam Scott. I’m not Justin Rose,” he added. “I’m Jason Day. And I need to do the work and it will happen, I’ve just got to be patient.”
Jason Day (AUS) bt Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 23 holes
Rickie Fowler (USA) bt Ernie Els (RSA) 19 holes
Jason Day (AUS) bt Rickie Fowler (USA) 3 and 2
Victor Dubuisson (FRA) bt Ernie Els (RSA) 1 up