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Jason Day is a former world number one, multiple PGA Tour winner and a major champion.

The Australian is far from finished yet, though, and heads into this week’s 106th PGA Championship in Valhalla with a point to prove. caught up with the Rolex Testimonee before his bid to become a two-time PGA Championship winner…


Jason Day is still chasing a second major victory (Credit: Getty Images)

 Can you describe your emotions when approaching the final few holes at the 2015 PGA Championship, knowing you were on the verge of making history?

In terms of coming down the stretch at the PGA Championship, when all’s said and done, the emotions stemmed from all the hard work and knowing that at some point as a kid, I had dreamed about that moment and winning major championships. For me, to be able to experience that not only with my family and friends but also with my coach at the time and caddie, who had been my coach ever since I was 13 years old, was a very special moment for me. That’s why a lot of emotions came out.

I thought about what my mum had sacrificed and what my dad went through as he passed away when I was 12 years old. There were a number of emotions that filled me and I was crying before the final putt went in. I remember a lot of that day but just being able to compete at the highest level, knowing what I had gone through, and the emotions that ensued afterwards, knowing that I had secured the victory, was special.

How has that victory influenced your approach to the game since?

Knowing that I had the game to compete at the highest level is a given but more so proving to myself that I can win on a major scale. Looking back at that victory, I know I need to prepare more and get better at my craft overall. It’s very hard to win in golf – especially out here now with all the guys being very young and capable of hitting the ball a very long way.

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The competition is getting harder and what that tells me is that as long as I stay motivated, healthy, willing to do the work and disciplined, the experience that I have in terms of the tournaments that I’ve won, but also lost, goes a long way. Knowing that I can win on a major scale is huge and I feel like I’ve got a lot more to prove in my career than just winning one time as a PGA champion.

How does preparation for majors differ to other tournaments?

You’d like to say that your preparation doesn’t change because you want to win every single week, but essentially it does. Everyone pretty much plays around the major championships and tries to peak around these tournaments.

I usually like to take a week off before the event, get in there early, practice and get all my work done. Essentially, once we get in there and the tournament weeks get underway, the practice rounds get very long as every player wants to chip around the greens for example.

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That’s why I like to get in there early and get my preparation done because that way, when I go out, I’m not doing the same and wasting energy. There is also the visualisation part. I’ve played before at Valhalla and I was in the final round with Rory McIlroy when he won the PGA Championship there in 2014, so knowing that I’ve had success at that course in the past, I’ll try to remember that and move forward with it.

How do you manage the pressure and expectations of being an elite level golfer?

That’s an important question because when I first got to world No.1, I feel like I was very accessible. Anyone could come up to me and I would be open to doing whatever they would ask. I think after a while, that really drained my energy and motivation to succeed to the point that I kind of got burnt out. Being the best player in the world does come with expectations and I do understand that but being able to and learn to prioritise good golf, great golf, over anything else is the most important thing.

There are three things in this world that matter to me – first and foremost, family; my golf; and my health. Those are the three pillars in my life that are important. If I can stay on top of those three pillars that will yield me good golf and if I can focus on that, I shouldn’t have a problem getting back to the top as I know I have the game to get there. Managing all the rest is something that I have to figure out myself and learn to manage it in a correct manner, but it’s something that’s just part of the game.

If you’re the best player in the world, you’re the most watched guy. The expectation is for you to win each and every week, and I understand that. I would rather have that expectation, that pressure and that stress than not have it. If I don’t have that in my life then I’m not striving for excellence or to get to that next level or to be a better person and player, so that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.

Jason Day has been a Rolex testimonee since 2010 (Credit: Getty Images)

Jason Day was speaking to as a Rolex Testimonee after joining the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods when beginning his association with the brand back in 2010.

Can you share a particular moment or experience that highlighted the significance of your partnership with Rolex in your career? 

When I was going through injuries and it was time to start looking at extending the partnership, Rolex came to me and asked to extend it. What that meant to me was that it clearly represented more than just a partnership. It was more about the family component and how the relationship that started in 2012 had blossomed into something more than your typical partnership – more than just Rolex and Jason Day; it was a family for me. The loyalty also really stands out – not only from my side to Rolex, but from Rolex to me and from Rolex to the many tournaments and tours around the world with which the brand is partnered with and supports.

Can you describe what it is like to be part of the Rolex family? 

To be part of the Rolex family alongside the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tiger Woods is special and those names really represent the brand. It’s very nice to be mentioned alongside them and in the same conversations. Rolex has been an amazing partner for a long time for me. I look forward to having a long, healthy relationship with Rolex, but also to be able to be friends with these people is amazing.

Have you listened to our huge PGA Championship preview episodes of The bunkered Podcast? Tune in now!

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