Former World No. 1 ranked pro golfer and philanthropist, Jason Day, took a break from the links to chat with host Michael Redd about his humble beginnings and rise to the top of the golf world, what it takes to persevere through injury, and his admiration of his mentor Tiger Woods.
I’m addicted to the process of getting better.” – Jason Day
The Australian professional golfer and PGA Tour member is a former World Number 1 in World Golf Ranking. From 2015 to 2016 he was considered the best golfer in the world, and he remained No. 1 for 51 weeks.
Jason first made the world’s top ten list in June 2011, rising to world number nine after his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open.
In February 2014, Day won his first WGC title – the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship – and won a second time in 2016. He joined Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy as the only multiple winners of the WGC Match Play.
He went on to win his first major tournament at the 2015 PGA Championship. He is poised to make a big comeback in the sport in 2020 and is currently ranked in the Top 40 in the world.
He and his wife, Ellie, founded The Brighter Days Foundation to provide funding and resources to central Ohio organizations that work to meet basic needs, give hope, and support child-serving organizations in Central Ohio.
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In this episode Michael and Jason talked about:
- Why his first golf club was so meaningful
- His legendary addiction to improving his game
- The elation of becoming the best in the world (and the challenge of staying there)
- Why having the right team in your corner is so important
- How Jason persevered to come back big from a serious injury
- The champion’s “never say die” mentality
- How technology has changed the game of golf
- And more!
Jason Day: I always ask my coach, I say, "You know what? When will I win? When will I go on a run?" And ultimately, he would always say, "Whenever you want to." He said, "You've always been that good. You just got to believe in yourself and trust in your abilities and when you want to win, you will."
Michael Redd: Hey, everybody. This is Michael Redd and welcome to the Betting on Yourself podcast, where I interview successful entrepreneurs, athletes, and other top performers who rose to the top, took success into their own hands and bet on themselves.
Michael Redd: Anybody that knows me knows how much I love a good golf game, so this episode is especially fun for me. Jason Day is not only an amazing golfer, but a man of integrity and passion. He has an incredible story of perseverance that took him from humble beginning on a farm in Australia to eventually becoming the number one golfer in the world. Jason and his wife Ellie started Brighter Days Foundation, which works to meet basic needs, give hope and support for child-serving organizations in Central Ohio.
Michael Redd: His journey has been a series of instances where he has bet on himself to keep moving forward with the goal of being the best. Jason is a testament that when you're fiercely dedicated to your passion, you really can achieve your goals. Here's my conversation with him.
Michael Redd: The man, the myth, and the legend.
Jason Day: What's up, brother?
Michael Redd: What's going on, brother? Thank you for being on today, man, with us, man.
Jason Day: How you doing? No problem at all, man. You know what? It's kind of rainy here in Ohio, as you know.
Michael Redd: Yes.
Jason Day: It's been hot and humid and now it's being off and on with the rain. So, I had a little bit of a good session this morning practicing and I'm now just jumping on, having a little chat for you this after, which is good.
Michael Redd: No, this is great, man. I've been looking forward to this for a long time and since I've been doing this. I thought it was a great way for us to reconnect and catch up, man. Congratulations on last week's finish.
Jason Day: Thank you.
Michael Redd: Just the toughness that you have to endure what you're doing with your back was amazing. So, that's-
Jason Day: Well, you kind of know what's going on with that.
Michael Redd: I do.
Jason Day: You obviously went through some injuries. Sometimes, it's not easy to go through. You know as a competitor, you're going to get through it, but you know that you want to compete and play at the highest level, but sometimes the injuries just get in the way and sometimes you just got to go, "You know what," just push through them. Fortunately enough, I got through it last week, which is nice. I've had a good few days off and I'm looking forward to getting into next week. We've got two weeks on the road after this week, which is nice.
Michael Redd: Yeah. Yeah, man. I know your schedule's trying to pick up now. I'm ultra grateful that you had time for me today, man. Means a lot to me.
Jason Day: Not a problem.
Michael Redd: Yeah, brother. I mean, let me just say this first of all, before we even get into a conversation. You are literally one of the best human beings I've met and I mean that.
Jason Day: Thank you.
Michael Redd: I know [crosstalk 00:03:11] that, but one of the nicest, humblest, if humblest is a word, people that I know, man. Our relationship goes back seven, eight years and kind of connected as you were ascending the apex of your career. It's been incredible to watch over the years to watch you grow as a player and obviously you're a better person than player.
Jason Day: Hey!
Michael Redd: You are.
Jason Day: Man, I appreciate that. That goes both ways. It's obviously, I've been actually honored to get to know you over the years. I remember sitting in your office one time. We're just sitting there discussing about golf and basketball and everything. It's just amazing to get to know you through the years. Obviously, it's tough sometimes to catch up, but it's always good to chat for you about anything, really, because I feel like you're probably one of the most level-headed guys I know out, especially as an athlete speaking to another athlete, it's refreshing to know that there are people out there like you that I can actually sit and talk to and know that if I ask for a piece of advice, that you're going to give it to me straight and it's very, very hard to find people like that.
Michael Redd: I'm going to get to our conversation we had about seven years ago, pre-PGA championship, all of that and it was a really, really incredible day that we had together. Since then, we went to a couple hockey games and we hung out.
Michael Redd: But I want to start with your perspective, man. I think your career and your life really is the definition of this whole show and we're talking about betting on ourself. Tell me what that has meant to you as far as your perspective on betting on yourself.
Jason Day: Well, it's amazing to see when I first started playing as a junior golfer, really kind of going and you know kind of half the story, Mike, but just a really kind of, as a junior golfer kind of not know, especially where I started in my career, where I lived and kind of the hard things that I went through, it's very similar to a lot of people out there. Fortunately for me, I was given some opportunities early on in my younger days. For some reason, I took those opportunities and I don't know what caused me to think the way that I thought back then, especially as a young teenage boy that was just going through losing his father and all that other stuff, but to be able to take on those opportunities and move forward and just slowly build and build and build, because a career in golf is not like most sports. You're talking about an average career in the NFL or maybe the NBA.
Jason Day: I mean, the NBA and the NFL kind of can be on the shorter side of things in regards to career length, but if you keep yourself healthy mentally and physically out on the PGA Tour, you can stay there for as long as you want really. We can play to beyond 50 years old if we wanted to and in my 13th season as a professional golfer and I started when I was 19 on the PGA Tour.
Jason Day: So, it's been amazing just to really kind of just slowly build and build and build. Once again, I've gone through some tough times. A career, very rarely does it go straight from where you were and straight up to the top. So, you just always just got to keep pushing and keep pushing. Sooner or later, if you stick with it and you push through those hard times, you can ultimately chew that top of the mountain. I've done it once and I want to try and get back there again, because I'm obviously very motivated to try and get myself back to the top.
Michael Redd: Take us back to Beaudesert, Queensland. You've given me a lot of insight over the years when we talk about finding your first golf club in the landfill and humble beginnings, man, that I can so relate to, not growing up with the resources that we would like, but talk about that and how that drove you as a kid, teenager.
Jason Day: Yeah. I mean, so I grew up in a town called Beaudesert in Queensland, Australia. It was this country town. I grew up on a farm. We had cattle. It's a very dry place out there. So, I started playing, we would go to the landfill you just alluded to a little bit earlier. But, we would, for us, we weren't very wealthy, but we would go down to the landfill or the rubbish tip and we would try and find things we could use around the house.
Jason Day: I remember walking through, I mean, literally it's where everyone throws their garbage. I would go down there every now and then, try and find toys. I mean, this place stunk so bad of garbage. You're literally in it and you're waste deep in it, just looking through, picking up old trash and food or whatever they throw away, but one day, I wasn't there, but my dad found a golf club. I've actually got it here up at the barn where I practice at my house.
Michael Redd: Wow!
Jason Day: Yeah, so I still have it, which is great. That's the first golf club that my dad gave to me when I was three years old. I don't remember hitting my first ball, but my dad, why he took it home, he gave it to me. I hit a few tennis balls. Then, he turned to my mother and said, "This guy's going to be a champion." Obviously, every dad says that or every mother says that, but where we grew up in Beaudesert, it's a very kind of rural area, it's country. I started at this place called Beaudesert Golf Club and we go down there every Saturday and play junior golf and learn the game, the etiquette of the actual game of golf. That's kind of how I started. My next door neighbor gave me an assortment of his old clubs, so I was so happy when I at least got a set of clubs that I could play with.
Michael Redd: Was it love at first sight when you hit the golf ball?
Jason Day: Yeah.
Michael Redd: Because you're athletic and there's other sports you could have engaged in, but talk about that.
Jason Day: Yeah, no. It was, I loved golf. The big thing for me was I love cricket. Cricket, it's similar to baseball, but it's very hard to explain, but I would always be hitting things with a cricket bat. I'd be out in the back yard at the farm, just always hitting stuff. So, it was something where I just, I absolutely loved. When I first started playing with other juniors, that's all I wanted to do every Saturday was to go play junior golf and learn the game.
Jason Day: Then, as I went on, we made the move from Beaudesert to Rockhampton in Queensland, which is seven to eight hours north drive of where we are. My mom and my dad both had a job up at this meatworks up in Rockhampton when we moved there. I ended up joining a club down there called Capricorn Country Club. And it had 12 holes. I mean, it was so random. It had 12 holes. The crazy thing is is that it just, I just remember going down there and making a lot of good friends. That's kind of where I really fell in love with the game was I had a next door neighbor and he was 16, 17 at the time I got him into the game of golf.
Jason Day: So, I'd run back after school when I was around 8:00 or 9:00 and I'd sit on the front steps and just wait for him to come home so we could ride bike out, golf clubs behind our bikes, and ride 20, 30 minutes to the golf course and play until dark and then ride home.
Michael Redd: Wow! That's [crosstalk 00:11:16].
Jason Day: Yeah. It was fun, man. I mean, it was something that you, I just fell in love with the game so much. It was amazing. Then, it was weird because I was having this conversation with my massage therapist the other day. She's just talking about can parents be overbearing sometimes. I'm like, "Yeah, they can." The hardest thing, as a parent, I think when you're having kids that's really good in sports is to push them in a way that will better them mentally and physically, but also not to the detriment of them losing love for that sport or love for that game that they're trying to play in. For me, as a kid, I love the game so much. My dad, he was a little bit too hard on me in regards to my competition and the way that I played.
Jason Day: I mean, obviously, it goes a little bit deeper in regards to how hard he was, but I look back on it and even though I copped a lot of physical and mental abuse from my dad, that's one thing that I never stopped loving the game, regardless. I always loved it so much. Then, if I went out and played, I knew that if I didn't play good, I'd get my butt whooped if I didn't play good, so I had to concentrate to go out and I'd play well. It's funny to look at it now and laugh about it now, but obviously when I was a kid, I didn't like it. So, I made sure to go out there and try and play the best I could.
Michael Redd: You were able to persevere those times, obviously.
Jason Day: Yeah.
Michael Redd: I would add to that and the fact that you make a quote that is awesome. You are addicted to the process of getting better. I had an up-close experience of that about eight years ago, seven years ago when me and you hit balls, that, man! I was seeing that this guy's a machine, man.
Jason Day: Yeah.
Michael Redd: Five hours we spent together that day and a majority of it was chipping and hitting balls. So, that work ethic that you had obviously as a teenager has traveled with you to where you are now.
Jason Day: Yeah, and its amazing. So, you kind of fast-forward past the junior days. My dad passed away when I was 11 and a half, 12. I went through some pretty rough times up in Rockhampton, started drinking, started get into a little bit of trouble at school. So, my mom shipped me off away to this golf academy down, actually 20 minutes from where I used to live in Beaudesert. It's called Kooralbyn International. I stayed there for about a year and a half. And then that academy closed down. Then, we moved to Hills International.
Jason Day: And who was my caddy now, I roomed with him in school there. He gave me a book about Tiger Woods. I read this book and it was the one of the only books I've ever read in my life. It was so thrilling for me and so exciting for me to read this like a bit of a life story about Tiger and what he did as a junior and all that stuff.
Jason Day: Then, at the back of the book, it showed his resolve as a teenager from 12, 13, 14, all the way up to when he, 18 ultimately turning pro and just some of the results he had. I was comparing myself at my age to his age at that time. At 13, I was sitting there going, "Man! This guy's shooting 68, 67s," and all that stuff and I was shooting 72s and every now and then duck into 60s, but it was more consistently around even par. I'd be going, "You know what? What do I need to shoot better scores?"
Jason Day: For some reason, and this is getting back to the opportunities. It was weird. I enjoyed getting up at 4:00 in the morning knowing that I'm outworking everyone at that school and I'm working harder. I just decided to go and work on my short game. I've always had a great short game, but those hours I spent that I working on my game and I got up to 32-and-a-half hours a week of just practicing nonstop. That was including with school as well, I've got my work ethic from my mom and my dad, but I just got addicted to getting better. I played mini games with myself, trying to see how many balls I could chip inside of three feet and then I'd write it down and then I'd try and beat it the next day.
Jason Day: So, at a young age I was very, very goal orientated. I think, looking back on it, I don't know how and why I did that, but it just improved my game dramatically. Then, I started playing a lot better. Then, that work ethic just kind of crept in and kept on moving forward.
Michael Redd: Yeah, it's legendary. Everyone who knows golf and knows about Jason Day knows that his work ethic is second to none. Is it safe to say that Tiger was a golfer that you kind of admired growing up?
Jason Day: Yeah. Yeah, definitely and obviously he was, I mean, I think every kid around my age, before and even up to now, they just admired what he did on the golf course. The guy was an absolute beast. He just always mentally, physically on, just what he did on the golf course, no you really see anyone else kind of do that out there before.
Jason Day: I mean, the big thing that I get from Tiger is obviously, he's accomplished a boatload of achievements and accomplishments out there as a professional golfer, but I think there's a few stats out there really that hit home to me. His cut streak, where he actually was at 142 cuts in a row, which is, if I'm counting now, that's seven or so years of every tournament he played, he didn't miss a cut, which is unbelievably impressive, but the amount of years he spent at number one in the world, 683 weeks, probably give or take somewhere in that region. You look at that, that's about 13 and a bit years, I guess, to be that dominant and that switched on and that focused to keep pushing forward regardless because, I mean, I've been number one in the world and I was there for a year. I know how difficult it can be to deal with media and fans and businesses on the side and other distractions going on. For him to be able to get to number one and stay there for that long is so impressive. I ask him that every single time why. He kind of gives me a roundabout answer, but obviously, he's very goal-orientated, goal-driven that he wants to be the best regardless.
Jason Day: So, I take little snippets of Tiger Woods and he's always been my idol. I try and do that from every player that I respect out there and try and slowly implement that into my game. I feel like it's worked so far, so hopefully just keep it going.
Michael Redd: Yeah. I mean, you're that guy now that people want to be around and glean from. There's no question Tiger's one of the greatest athletes ever to live, certainly. But you kind of carry that on you now.
Michael Redd: And I want to take you back a little bit, maybe seven years before the hysteria of Jason Day took off, man. I remember you being an up and comer. Talk about those times where you're now on tour. You've been on tour for a couple years now and you start to taste a little bit of success. Talk about how that taste of success was continuing to feed the beast.
Jason Day: Yeah. Yeah. So, it's funny, man. I won in 2010. That was my first win. I was very young. I think I was 22 or 23, something like that. A key to success, I was really good, and then I went on a bit of it. I had my first child, Dash, in 2012. Ellie was struggling with postpartum depression and she was struggling, we were both struggling to really kind of find what we were doing as parents and that really ... I struggled being at home with that, because, as a golfer, you're very selfish with your time because, as you know, Mike, you have to put so much time and effort into your game, that there's so many different aspects that you have to just kind of physically and mentally be selfish with your time. I struggled to know what my role was as a father. 2012 was a really rough season for me.
Jason Day: Then, all of a sudden, after about a year, I kind of knew what I had to do and then Ellie was out of the postpartum depression and things were great again, kind of at home because, as you know, if you're a competitor and you're playing at the highest level, even if you're playing at ... I'm at a level or semi-pro, if you have stress at home or stress somewhere else, that's going to bleed into your game. The goal is to try and make things as least stressful as possible and things will ultimately get better, but it wasn't until 2014 where I started winning the match play, I started plotting success, I started believing in myself. I always ask my coach. I say, "You know what? When will I win? When will I go on a run?" And ultimately, he would always say, "Whenever you want to." He said, "You've always been that good. You just got to believe in yourself and trust in your abilities and when you want to win, you will."
Jason Day: It wasn't until 2015, when I started to really feel my game unfolding. I won early in the year, I plateaued a little bit during the mid part of that year, but then I went to the British Open. This is one of two times that it's happened to me. I was at the British Open. I don't know if you've ever felt this, Mike, but I was sitting there and I'm staying at the Old Course Hotel at St Andrews. It just, unbelievable view. For some reason, that week, just that week, I don't know what it was. I felt like there was just this weight lifted off my shoulders. It's only happened twice for me in my career, but it just felt like everything came off my shoulders and just fell on the ground. I felt lighter and everything looked cleaner and crisper, just what I was looking at just, it felt so much better and I just felt happier and everything. Then, I end up finishing, tied fourth that week at the Open Championship.
Jason Day: Then, for some reason, I knew that when we were on the charter going back across to the RBC Heritage, which is in Canada. I got off and we're in the limo heading to the house. I looked at my agent. I said, "I'm going to win this week. I just know it."
Michael Redd: Wow!
Jason Day: Long story short, I end up winning that week. Then, I go on this pretty massive run of tournaments where I kind of went and just absolutely blew the field away. So, it was exciting to kind of build everything up and then finally get to number one in the world and having to deal with all that stuff. It was great, but I tell you what, being number one in the world, it's exciting and it's great to be up the top of the mountain, but it's difficult to be there. You just have to deal with everything that comes along with it.
Michael Redd: That's a great point. Staying there is actually harder than getting there. I remember back in 2013, you and I sitting in the office and you were talking about having the mindset to close because you were coming up second in all these majors. It was clicking. Augusta, US Open, seconds, Jason Day was top two, top three every tournament at that point and it clicked. I think you said something that was very powerful. "The healthier you are, the better product, the better person you're going to be and perform." That makes sense.
Jason Day: Yeah. Yeah, no. It definitely does. Obviously, I've had some struggles with my back. The healthier I feel, because the big thing is, when you're standing out there and you're playing. So, for instance, you bent over and you can't, all you're doing is focusing on your injury, you lose concentration.
Jason Day: So, I've always struggled with my back. Touch wood, I'm feeling great now, but as a competitor, sometimes you're sitting there and you feel like you're playing at the best players in the world. It's like you, Mike, going out and playing basketball again with just one hand and you're playing against LeBron and all these guys. You feel helpless sometimes, but you know that, okay, you just got to trust in that process that you're doing the right thing and hopefully, that the people that you hire around you, that you employ around you, that are making the correct call for you and you put that full trust in their ability to make sure that they're looking after your best interest.
Jason Day: The big thing is when you're a professional golfer, it's a little bit different to team sports, but as a profesional golfer, you're an individual, but, yes, you have a team around you and you need a good, solid, rock solid team. That's starting with your wife or your partner. You have to have someone solid at home. If you don't have someone solid at home, you can't go back to, after a bad day and have a chat about things and then giving you the correct insight to going, "Okay. Maybe I shouldn't have done this or I should have done that," and they're keeping everything solid at home.
Jason Day: You have your agent and you have your coaches, in regards to your swing coach or short game coach or your mental coach. You have your gym trainer, your massage therapist. The big thing is you're like a CEO of a company and you're trying to motivate these guys to all pull in the same direction so that you can get to that number one spot in the world. If that's your goal, you got to somehow get everyone on board knowing that, okay, we got to get the swing coach working with the gym trainer working with the massage therapist and every one of those, the people that work for you or the component that works for you have to all be working and doing their jobs correctly so that ultimately the end product turns to results and the results turn to hopefully number one in the world. It's amazing to sit down and think about all these moving parts behind the scenes that a lot of people don't realize.
Michael Redd: That's such a powerful philosophy, Jason, that I think is applicable to everyone. There's a lot of entrepreneurs that will listen to this podcast and I think that's so important to mention team. I'll ask you this question. How has your leadership evolved over the years?
Jason Day: Man, my leadership, it's been funny. So, it's sometimes you got to understand that sometimes you have to heavily weigh on your team and you have to understand, okay, you have to go to them for advice and you have to ask them and say, "Hey, am I doing this correctly? What should we be doing here?" Let's say, for instance, my game, if I go to my coach and say, "What should I be doing here," or in the gym, "What should I be doing here to make sure that my body is ready so that I can actually go out and perform better?"
Jason Day: And sometimes, you have to take ownership of the actual machine itself, the company and go, "You know what? I'm making this decision regardless of what the team thinks because I think that if I make this decision and I believe in that decision, that I will ultimately play better." And sometimes, you just got to back yourself.
Jason Day: And you have people that you can kind of bounce things off, if you can have someone in your team that you can bounce things of, whether that's your wife or a good friend, someone that you can ultimately trust no matter what happens because the bad thing about most teams or people that you can employ, if you pay them well enough, sooner or later, they start thinking about money or they think about themselves.
Jason Day: I understand as an employer, you got to think about yourself and you want to better yourself and you got to make more money and all that stuff, but if you can somehow motivate the team to be able to think past themselves and think about the ultimate outcome of the goal that you're trying to achieve, it always works better, but it's hard because, like I said, when people start thinking about themselves and thinking about keeping a job or thinking about money or themselves, that's just not a good formula for success. I think, you're going to struggle because they'll make decisions based off what will ultimately make them or put them in a better position. You can't have that and sometimes you just got to have that hard conversation.
Jason Day: I've let go of a good handful of people. It's not because sometimes, it was because they were thinking about themselves and sometimes it was just because, you know what? I needed a change because it just wasn't working out. Those times where you're letting someone go is not easy. It's difficult, but you have to have the honest conversation with yourself and you have to have the honest conversation with them. If you can explain it in a way where this is for the better of the actual career and yourself and hopefully they understand, but yeah, it's difficult to really kind of know when to push and pull back. It's more of a feel thing and it's more of a kind of being able to talk to individuals because every individual thinks and does things differently and you just kind of got to kind of talk to them in their way of thinking. So, it's really, really funny.
Michael Redd: I've heard you mention Ellie a number of times and Arrow and Dash and Lucy. I know how important family is to you. Our wives are the backbone of our families. You've been able to do, I think, from afar and knowing you, you've done an incredible job of balancing your profession, your career along with family time. Talk about that dichotomy for a minute.
Jason Day: Yeah. So, it's like you said, the game of golf is different. It's very similar to tennis in regards to obviously you have your team on the sidelines. Tennis is a little bit different because you're actually out there physically by yourself, whereas in golf, we have a caddy that we can talk to. As you're playing sports, you're under immense pressure all the time, regardless of who you are as a competitor. That stress can sometimes bleed into your personal life, so and that was, I've said to Ellie a couple of times and having the right person with you or right partner with you is very important because if you're a CEO, if you're competing, even if you just work a normal job and you just have a bad day, it's very difficult to sometimes be able to vent or get things out if you don't have the right person.
Jason Day: For Ellie, she's always been rock solid. I met her when I was 17 years old, before I was anyone. We got married very young. We had Dash. I had Dash when I was 25, so we've been together and married 10 plus years. We've been together for 14 years or so. She's always been so super rock solid. For her, she's got faith in God. I always believe in God, but I don't practice it as much as her, but I know that, for her to have that faith in God and for her to obviously believe in that, I think that has helped me along the ways as well. I think that's helped a lot actually to be frank. For her to kind of be very forgiving in times when I'm very tough, I know that a lot of people probably wouldn't put up with me, with some of the things I bring back because I'm very competitive.
Jason Day: Early days, I'd be coming back after a round and I'd be in the bus or the RV and I'd lock myself in the back of the bus because I'd performed so poorly. These days are a little bit different, but she's always there constantly non-stop, supporting me regardless of the silly things I say, the silly things I do, the mean things I say, the mean things I do. As men and as competitors, sometimes we just are a little bit bull-headed and we're not on the kind of more emotional side of things and she's just been such a wonderful and impactful person in my career.
Michael Redd: And you're a great father and you love your children. The first thing I describe with Jason Day is that he's a great husband, a great father. I think that's the legacy that you're leaving. You reach the pinnacle of winning the major, 17 total wins, 12 PGA. As a fun side note, give me, excluding yourself because I think you're on the track to be a hall of famer, give me your top five greatest golfers.
Jason Day: Top five greatest golfers. Okay. I'm going to give a tie between Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Michael Redd: Sure.
Jason Day: I'm going to give that. So, I didn't play with the old school guys, so I'm going to give modern day golfers, okay?
Michael Redd: Yup.
Jason Day: So, I mean, obviously Jack is kind of modern, but he's old school, but he's always been in that conversation. So, I'm going to Jack and Tiger. I'm going to throw Phil in there because he's won about 45 times and I think he's won 45 times and I think he's got around five majors or so. Sneakily and this is, I'm talking modern day golfers. I'm not going to say, "Ben Hogan," all those guys. I'm going to throw Vijay Singh in there. 34 wins, I think and three or four majors. You got to throw-
Michael Redd: Absolutely.
Jason Day: Yeah. So, we're up to four. Now, granted, I'm going to throw a tie in between Dustin Johnson and, I mean, Rory McIlroy probably is a little bit, is ahead of Dustin Johnson, but I'm going to say Rory McIlroy, then Dustin Johnson, so now I'm going to say six there. But Dustin Johnson, he's won 21 times, he's won one major, whereas I think Rory McIlroy, he's won 18 times on the PGA Tour and he's won four majors. And those guys are still halfway through their career, so they're going to just add to that slowly.
Jason Day: So, that's kind of my top five modern-day golfers right now, but, yeah, you got to throw Lefty in there. Lefty's the best. He's the best left-handed golfer to ever live by far.
Michael Redd: Wow! Wow! That's a good list. That's a really good list, and fair. I'd have to agree with you on that. You've got a couple records yourself. I think you're one of three, you, Tiger, and Geoff Ogilvy to win multiple match plays.
Jason Day: Yeah.
Michael Redd: That did three straight.
Jason Day: I feel like I'm not done, Mike.
Michael Redd: Nowhere near. Yeah.
Jason Day: Yeah. And that's the thing. Obviously, as I said before, a career is long. I've always said that my 30s are going to be my best years, but obviously, I've only one twice in my 30s. I won 10 times in my 20s, got to number one in the world I think before I was 30. So, I was really young. I mean, I had goals in life that I want to achieve. When I first came out, I was 19 years old. I won the biggest number one in the world by 22, I believe. I got to number three in the world by 24-ish, 23, 24, so I wasn't too far off.
Jason Day: Then, I always wanted to get to number one. I wanted to get to number one. I wanted to be the youngest Australian to get to number one, and I ended up accomplishing that. I was number one in the world before 30. There's still things that I want to do. My goals in life is I want to be able to win the grand slam. I want to go through that and I want to at least win 25 plus wins because I think, in this day and age, competition only gets tougher and tougher as years go on. I know that when you first started playing basketball, I'm sure the competition was tough, but through science and how these guys are training these days, I guarantee that competition has gotten a lot tougher over the years in all sports.
Jason Day: To win out in the PGA Tour is difficult, but you just got to stay mentally and physically ready to go out there and compete. I'm always trying to better myself that way. So, I've got a lot of goals left and I think I can still accomplish a lot of things.
Michael Redd: Yeah. Some would argue that you haven't entered your prime yet because there are so much between now and 60, 50. There's so much golf left in your career, but I would say you're probably tracking on the hall of fame already, as young as you are for what you've been able to accomplish. I hear it in your voice, man. I hear the lion, the motivation to still be great, man. How does you do that, man? Contain the will, the motivation to continue to be at the top after so many years of being there?
Jason Day: Yeah. So, the criteria to get in the hall of fame is 10 wins, two majors. So, I've got 12 wins, one major. I mean, I'm right there. I've got a Players Championship. That doesn't count a major championship, but we call it our fifth major.
Michael Redd: That's right.
Jason Day: So, I might be right there right now. So, I mean, I've always wanted to be in the hall of fame. My ultimate goal in life was to be the best in the world. That was my life goal was to get to number one in the world. I finally got there.
Michael Redd: How does that feel? How does that feel being the best in the world?
Jason Day: Oh! Mate, it was unbelievable. It was the best thing ever. I couldn't wait to wake up the next morning. I couldn't go to sleep. After I won the BMW, I could not sleep that night because I would wake up during the middle of the night and check the official world golf rankings just to see my name up the top. I just knew there was going to ... And didn't matter where I went, I was the best in the world.
Jason Day: But the thing was, Mike, is that I was the best in the world leading up before I got to the rankings, because obviously I went on this massive run and I knew I was ... It was just a matter of time because the point, they had to be calculated. It was just like I knew that I was number one before I actually got to number one because of just how well I was going, but to be able to stay motivated, it can be difficult because you're sitting there and a career is very, very long. You're playing against guys that are hungrier or the same amount of hungriness or hungrier than you are and you're playing against younger guys.
Jason Day: It can be difficult to sit back sometimes and go, "You know what? Do I really want to begin? You've done so much in the game and you've achieved your main goal of getting to number one in the world. Do you really want to kind of push and go through all the drama and all that stuff again?" When I sit back and think about it, I'm like, "No. 12 wins is great, but it's not enough. Being number one for 51 weeks is not enough."
Jason Day: Going through and looking up my stats, I just know that I can do more and I can be more. I just, at the end of my career, I just want to know that I did everything I possibly could and granted, I know that you can't stay on top of your game and mentally stay on top of it as well because sometimes a career, it ebbs and flow. It goes up and down. Some days, you want it more. Some days, you want it less. Priorities change over years. You have kids, you have children, so your worries and your stresses are somewhere else sometimes, but you've just got to know through those tough times, you've just got to keep pushing a little bit, you know what I mean? Sometimes, you just got to take your foot off the gas pedal a little bit. Know that you're going through a tough time, understand that it's a difficult time right now, but know that that motivation will change. As long as you want it, that motivation will change. You'll start seeing improvement. Then, once you start seeing an improvement, you'll see the results. Once you see the results, you gain confidence. Then, once you gain confidence, you start working harder again. It's just like a circle and it just keeps going around and around and around. Then, all of a sudden, you've accomplished a lot more.
Jason Day: From right now to when I started as a PGA Tour player as 19 years old, my career has come so long so far. I know that I can develop so much better as a player. So, I know there's a lot of room there to improve and I know that, if I can improve that stuff, that I'll have a lot more wins than I have now, which is great.
Michael Redd: There's a great saying that has kind of circled around you since you were a kid that I discovered in doing some research. Never say die. Never say die mentality. What does that mean to you?
Jason Day: So, it's funny, man. You know the Energizer Bunny?
Michael Redd: Yeah.
Jason Day: Back in the day, there was a commercial that said, "Never say, 'Die.'" For some reason, my dad would always say just like, "You never give up. You never give up. You never say, 'Die.'" I said, "You don't give up." And some days, you're not going to have the greatest tournaments and you're not going to have the greatest years, but you just got to keep pushing. The amount of time that you fail out here as a professional golfer. I mean, we play a sport where you're going to lose more times than you're going to win. You look at Tiger Woods, for instance. He's won 82 times, but I mean, if you look at how many events he's played, the career's unbelievable, but for me, for instance, I think I've played 260 odd events or whatever it is, 260-ish events on the PGA Tour. I've only won 12 times. I mean, that percentage is really low.
Jason Day: So, you're in a sport where you're constantly ... Now, granted, I think of losing as not winning. So, second place and finishing 5th and finishing 10th is great, depending on where you are in your career and you got to understand that we're in a sport where you lose and you just got to understand that you just got to keep pushing.
Jason Day: Getting back to that finishing 2nd and 5th and 10th or whatever it is, sometimes is good because when you're in a bad place and you just haven't been playing well, sometimes, finishing 25th is good. It's good for the confidence. I've heard good players saying, "That's bad to finish there," but sometimes it's good because that ultimately, that finish may spark a top 10 and then, it may spark a top five, then it may spark a 2nd place. Then, from there, it may spark you to go onto winning for the 13th time or the 20th time. It's just, you got to just roll with it. That's a thing where I get back to saying, "Never say die," because golf is a long career. It's a marathon, not a sprint for us. You just got to keep fighting until the end.
Michael Redd: Absolutely, absolutely. I want to kind of shift gears just a little bit to the technicality of your game. Are you a big believer in analytics? How has the overlap of technology in golf affected you in your game?
Jason Day: Yeah. So, this is a funny story, that. I was playing with Tiger one time. We get the Bushnell rangefinders where it tells you how many yards it is up and down so the elevation change. So, if you're standing on the tee on a par three and you're sitting there and it looks downhill and then you shoot it with a Bushnell, it'll say, "It's 178 yards to the pin and it's downhill six yards." So, ultimately, it's playing true number is 178, its elevation change is down to 172. So, you have six yards of elevation change.
Jason Day: I'm sitting there playing with Tiger one time. We're talking in. My caddy was talking about how much it is down. He just starts laughing. I'm like, "What are you laughing at?" He's like, "You working how many yards it's down." I'm like, "What are you doing?" He goes, "Yeah, but you steal it." That just goes to show you the difference between an old school player.
Jason Day: Now, granted, he's one of the best of all time if not the best, but his feeling, calculation's always been correct, for the most part, but you look at, I'm watching golfers. We're doing this right now, I'm watching live golf of the 3M Open. I'm watching this kid named Matt Wolff. He's a young kid, but if you go down the range and you see usually Matt Wolff will have a track man behind him, so we have, we're constantly looking at numbers. Back in the day, they didn't have that stuff. What they did back in the day, they looked at trajectory and how it was spinning through the air.
Jason Day: So, if you looked up and you were trying, testing new irons and you saw it. To your old clubs, you're like, "No. That's not going through the right window that I'm looking for. It's not launching in that right condition. It's not spinning at the right condition."
Jason Day: There's an old school story about Seve. He just kind of knew what club was doing every single time. I think his four iron was cutting five yards, his five iron was drawing five yards. So, he kind of knew what his clubs were doing, whereas in these days, we just have so much science, so much technology behind the game and that's touching on it before. I mean, that's just why these guys are just so much better. I mean, if you take the second half of every field, it's just so much better now that what it was 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago because of all the technology we have.
Michael Redd: Do you see yourself gaining 30 pounds or 40 pounds like Bryson gained 40 pounds? You already found it, so yeah.
Jason Day: Dude, no. See, I've done all that stuff.
Michael Redd: You have?
Jason Day: Yeah, yeah. I done all that stuff. I was 185 pounds. I was 190 pounds and then I lost 15 pounds. I went down 175. I went through this shred bodybuilding stage where I was just feeling good on the course, and I did look good like I was six pack, everything. I felt great. As I was going from 190, I felt great. At 185, felt awesome, at 180, and then ultimately got down to 175. I just like, "I lost 30 yards." On my driving, I lost 30 yards because there was just no mass behind the ball. I lost speed because I just put on too much bulk, especially in my chest. I just had too much bulk in my chest and I couldn't turn, couldn't get the right, especially the right leverage in certain spots in my swing. So, I lost a boatload of distance. Then, I started working with a new trainer and we went from 175 to almost 210.
Jason Day: I put a boatload of weight on. I was strong. I was hitting it back and maybe 30 to 40 yards longer than what I was 175. I felt like I couldn't get around the golf course. I was huffing and puffing around the golf course. It's amazing to see guys chase distance. Usually, when guys chase distance, especially shorter guys, it messes with their game a little bit.
Michael Redd: Sure.
Jason Day: But it hasn't for Bryson. I think he's done it in a way, from what I hear about Bryson is that he's doing a lot of his stuff on actual machines and not like kind of free weights and barbells and dumbbells. He's actually doing a lot of his stuff on machines. He's spending two to three hours in the gym, apparently, working with his MAT guy and he's doing exercise and stressing between it and doing exercises again, so he's spending a lot of time in the gym. Then, he just beat the living crap out of the ball. He's hitting it so far.
Jason Day: It's actually been impressive to see how the evolution of his body and what he's changed because it's definitely helped his game, but you take all that apart, you take the distance out of it and the body change out of it, he just putts better. That's why he's playing better, because I think he's second in [straight 00:49:19] game putting, or something like that. It's something ridiculous. He's top 10 at least, I know, and he's never there. If you take a guy that hits it long and then putts good, it [a form of 00:49:28] their success. I don't care who you are.
Michael Redd: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Let me ask you a question about the fans not being around. How's that been for you because a lot of players thrive off the crowd noise and the engagement of the fans. How's that been for you?
Jason Day: It's funny. If you take Tiger, for instance, everywhere he went, it would be like having a home game, because they just loved him so much. I've played with Tiger a bunch. Every time you're playing with him, everyone's yelling, "Tiger, Tiger, Tiger," everywhere he walked, because it's just amazing to kind of be in his little bubble at that time, but I miss it.
Jason Day: There's two reason why he's such better scores right now on the PGA Tour, especially earlier on, after we got back from quarantine. The PGA Tour announced that if you had a tour card, you got a free year, so ultimately, you got until the end of next season to keep your card, so you really didn't have to worry about keeping your tour card this year, so that takes a lot of relief off a lot of guy's shoulders thank God that they're going to be around for two years because every year, you're playing top 125 to keep their full status. If you're outside that top 125, then you either got conditional status or no status, you're heading back to the secondary tour.
Jason Day: Now, the second thing is obviously as you pointed out, the fans. That's a huge part. I don't care who you are as a player, it's a huge part to the game. I actually miss it because the four top, I played the first six tournaments, but I can't remember what it was at Colonial, but the three tournaments after that, the cut line was four under four under five under. Those cut lines are usually never that low. They're usually maybe one, maybe two under.
Jason Day: So, and what I believe is that there's no fans out there. And when there's no fans out there, especially when you're coming down Friday afternoon, you're on the cut line and people are watching and the fans and there's just a buzz around everything. It's making it a lot easier for guys to go out and compete when there's no fans, because there's not that nervous energy out there. It's fun to play without fans for a little bit, but I actually miss it a lot.
Michael Redd: Yeah. It's like guys are playing out there with house money. I mean, the nerves are not as much because of the fans and whatnot, and then you have your card for another two years or another year and a half. So, that's why the scores are higher probably.
Jason Day: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I mean, that's why the guys are going out and they're shooting the scores they are, because, I mean, it's just ridiculous the scores that they're shooting because there's no pressure right now.
Jason Day: Now granted, that will change a little bit, once we get into the playoffs, it's starting to gradually change now, because we're getting close to the playoffs. We're going to play Memphis next week, which is the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Classic. Now, obviously, that has no cut line, but the best players in the world are going to be there.
Jason Day: Then, we're going to play the PGA, then we have the Wyndham Classic. Then, after that, we have the three playoff events. Now, the three playoff events change everything because you got to get yourself in the top 30, so there's going to be a lot more pressure there, but I mean, it still won't be to the point where you're living and dying by every kind of sport out there.
Michael Redd: I'll close with a few more questions. This has been great, Jay. Thank you so much, again, for your time, man. I know your time is limited in practice and recovery and all that. Is there a young golfer out there that you've kind of adopted kind of like how Tiger's adopted you as a guy that he can mentor? Do you see yourself kind of giving back to the younger generation? I know you're still young yourself, but do you still see yourself giving back in that way?
Jason Day: No. I wouldn't say that I've adopted that. I mean, you got to understand that, when I was coming up, I was a youngest for, I think three, four years maybe. I was the youngest player out there for might have been two to three years. I was the youngest player out there, but now there's 20, 19 year olds, 20 year olds, 21 year olds coming out on tour and there's a lot of them. They come out with so much confidence. They come out with this little bit of a swagger that they know what to do. Granted, the game hasn't humbled them enough yet, but it slowly will. Sometimes, it won't humble them and they just come out and they're that good. Then some guys will come out and they think they've better than what they actually are and they will humble them and then they go away and then they come back a better player. If not, they lose their card.
Jason Day: But for me, personally, I'm always being, if someone comes up to me and asks me a question, I'm going to give them the open, honest opinion, and there's been a number of players where they'll ask me about, most of the people ask me about putting or chipping or short game because that's kind of my strength. Then, I mean, last week, I was talking, this was just a little side note. I was talking to J.T. Poston and we're playing a tournament together. I think it was the first two rounds.
Jason Day: This is not me giving advice like, "Hey, I'm mentoring J.T. Poston," but we're going through it, just saying, "Man, you know you just got to ..." because I think he's been three or four years on tour. I was just saying, "The hardest part about obviously getting on tour is playing that first year and speaking your card and after that you're fine, but you got to understand that golf is in ... You look at guys that hit it further than you. There's guys that are more explosive like a Bryson DeChambeau or a Matt Wolff or a lot of these young guys that hit some great iron shots like Collin Morikawa, but you got to understand that golf is not like football or basketball where some guys just, they're just a half a step quicker than you or can handle the pill a little bit better than you, as you get older.
Jason Day: But, in golf, you can stick to your strengths and if you can stick to those strengths while kind of maintaining those or improving those weaknesses, you'll always be a good player and you'll always come out as long as you mentally and physically want it, you'll be out here for a long, long time.
Jason Day: That's kind of what I tell most people is that you don't have to drastically change your game. I see a lot of guys out there sometimes trying to change their game because they see other guys doing certain things. It's funny, man. When you look at golf, it's usually, typically golfers will follow each other. Some guys, we're talking about hitting fades, then everyone's hitting fades. Then, someone's talking about hitting these low shots and everyone's hitting these low shots or hitting driving lines. Everyone's hitting driving ...
Jason Day: It's funny, man, because you just got to believe in what you're doing and if you can believe in what you're doing and trust what you're doing and really understand that this is what you're trying to accomplish, then you'll be okay. And that's what I try and tell everyone.
Jason Day: Then, if there's someone that actually asks me certain questions or mental questions or whatever it is, like I was talking to Bob last week. He's been on tour and he's won twice. He's won 12 times and won two majors. He was asking me about my practice. I said, "Dude." When we go out and play a practice round, he never misses a shot. I said this because when you play tournament golf, he looks stressed out. I said, "Look." I said, "You practice at green and play at red. You can't have two different ... You can't practice and be really calm and having fun and all this stuff and not really concentrate and not miss a shot and expect to go and do that Thursday morning. You got to somehow even that out and bring that together."
Jason Day: So, if you can concentrate a little bit while you practice, hopefully that tension and that stress and the anxiety of going out and playing competitively comes down and that you can go out there and just focus. So, it's just weird. Granted, I ask questions to other professionals as well because I want to see what they're thinking and what they're doing right now as well, just because I think you always got to keep improving and you can't always take everyone's advice because and this is from me saying to whoever's listening. My advice is some people may not work and that's okay. You just got to understand that you got to kind of sift through everything and understand that certain things won't work for you, but it's a good learning curve.
Michael Redd: Last question, man. Lot of good food there, man. Last question I have for you is what would you tell your 16 year old self, how to give yourself advice at 16?
Jason Day: It's a lot, but I would say that probably put the number one thing on your mind is keeping your mind and your body healthy because you want to mentally have a good frame of mind going out there and competing. I understand. You want to always improve.
Jason Day: The one thing that touring professionals don't do enough of and actually just people in general. I'm just saying your local guy down at the gas station who's the CEO at a big corporation. We don't work enough on our mental state and our mental game as human beings and as competitors, we don't work on that enough. We say too many negative things to ourselves and don't say enough positive things to ourselves. I honestly believe that we, as people, need to change the way we think sometimes. That's, granted, sometimes people are overconfident, but that's a very few people, but I would also say that probably my number one thing is to not change my body too much, don't do too many things. Just make sure that you stay flexible, you stay mobile, but you stay strong and always look after your body because that is a big thing that you need the most when you're obviously going to play through a long career, and you would probably attest to that especially playing basketball and it being so physical and the injuries that you have gone through. You just got to look after yourself. That's probably what I'd say the most.
Michael Redd: Couldn't have said it better. You're a thousand percent correct. You've done it, man. I'm so, so honored to be your friend, and I'm grateful that you took the time out to do this podcast. It was incredible. I know it's going to really touch and inspire a lot of people who hear it. Thank you again, bud.
Jason Day: Hey, man. No problem. I'm glad to be on with you. It's always been fun to catch up. Hopefully, some people got a few little bits of advice out there. If not, then they can just move onto the next thing that will help them, but it's been great to be able to have a chat with you today, man. It's always a pleasure to catch up with you.
Michael Redd: Yes, sir. You represent our city great, man.
Jason Day: Thanks.
Michael Redd: So, thank you, brother.
Jason Day: Thank you, brother.
Michael Redd: Jason is awesome. Not only is he an amazing golfer, husband, and father, but he is an inspiration and proof that hard work and a never-say-die attitude will put you on the road to success.
Michael Redd: Thanks for listening to today's episode. To read the show's notes, learn more about my work, or connect with me, visit michaelredd.com. New episodes released every week on Monday, so make sure to subscribe if you wanted to stay up to date. Until next time, I'm Michael Redd. Remember, you are the secret to your success.
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