AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – This is Jason Day’s favorite week of the year.
This week, perhaps more than ever.
Day said he plays golf for two reasons – Tiger Woods and Augusta National – and this is the 20th anniversary of Woods’ game-changing victory in the 1997 Masters.
Then there is Day’s mother, Dening, a 4-foot, 11-inch “woman of very few words … and she can be very intimidating,” according to her son.
Dening Day is on the mend from recent cancer surgery in Ohio that removed a portion of her left lung. Doctors in Australia initially gave her less than a year to live, but the surgery dramatically increased his mother’s long-term prognosis, Day said Tuesday at Augusta National.
“Hopefully she can live a very long life,” he said.
Two weeks ago, Day withdrew after six holes of his first match in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, offering a short, tear-stained explanation.
“I was stuck between two worlds, because my mom was telling me to go; I’m defending champion and I should go, but I don’t want to be there because I want to be with my mom and making sure that the surgery went well,” Day said.
“The emotion of the roller coaster of saying that she only had 12 months to live; then I brought her over here and the diagnosis was a lot better. There was a roller coaster of emotions and, once again, I was torn.
“Some days I would wake up and I would feel really, really bad and sad about what’s going on with my mom and other days I would wake up and then I would start feeling guilt because I don’t think – I didn’t feel like I was feeling bad enough for the situation that my mom was going through. So golf was the last thing on my mind.”
In his few days at Augusta, Day has been able to focus on his golf while embracing the well wishes that have come his way. Day also was heartened by the news this week that his mother will not have to undergo chemotherapy.
If doctors will allow it, Day hopes his mother can make her first visit to The Masters this week.
“Hopefully (it will) be nice to have my mom here; even if I don’t – even if I don’t win, it would be nice to have my mom here,” Day said. “She’s never been here before. She’s never had the opportunity to come over here and she’s here now, so hopefully she’s healthy enough to fly down.
“But it’s great to even think about it. It gets me excited thinking about the possibility of actually winning and obviously accomplishing one of my life goals. With that said, I can’t get too far ahead of myself because, yeah, it’s only Tuesday and Sunday is a very, very long way away.”