This Day In Sports: Day’s winning score is way Down Under

August 16, 2015: Australian Jason Day wins the 97th PGA Championship by shooting 20 under par, a record for one of golf’s majors, eclipsing Tiger Woods’ mark set in the 2000 British Open by one shot. Day beat 22-year-old phenom Jordan Spieth by three strokes at historic Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, WI. It was Day’s first victory in a major, ending a long string of near-misses that included runnerup finishes in the U.S. Open in 2011 and 2013.

That has been the highlight of Day’s career—still his only major victory. He went into the PGA Championship ranked No. 5 in the world, having tied for ninth at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and tying for fourth at The Open Championship at St. Andrews, missing out on a playoff by just a single stroke. In September of 2015, at the age of 27, Day rose to the No. 1 spot in world rankings for the first time. He turned in another strong season in 2016 before starting to struggle. By 2018, chronic back pain had become a distraction. Day has not won on the PGA Tour since that season.

Day’s under-par record in majors still stands, but now it is shared by three other golfers. Henrik Stenson shot 20-under in 2016 at the Open Championship (British Open). Dustin Johnson then spun a 20-under performance at the Masters in 2020, and just last month Cameron Smith won the Open Championship at 20-under. (The record for the U.S. Open is 16-under, set by Rory McIlroy in 2011.) Smith, by the way, was the first Australian since Day to capture one of golf’s majors.

Smith is in the news as we speak, as reports say he may go for the cash and join the controversial LIV tour. Going into the final round of the St. Jude Championship on Sunday, he was down just two strokes (one shot better than former Boise State star Troy Merritt). Or he thought he was. When Smith arrived at the course, he found out he had been penalized two strokes for an improper drop on Saturday. He ended up tying for 13th. Smith, currently the No. 2 player in the world, has withdrawn from this week’s BMW Championship, the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, citing a hip injury. It shouldn’t affect his status for the Tour Championship next week. LIV Golf would certainly affect Smith’s status on the PGA Tour.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *