(Reuters) – Former world number one Jason Day said he had considered giving up on golf a couple of years ago after he ended his five-year title drought with a one-stroke victory at the Byron Nelson in Texas on Sunday.
It was the Australian’s first win on the PGA Tour since the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship and his 13th in all since he won his maiden title, also at the Byron Nelson, in 2010.
Since his last title win, Day has endured illness and injury as well as the pain of watching his mother’s five-year battle with cancer, which ended when she died last year.
“It was very emotional to go through and to experience what she was going through, then I had injuries on top of all of that going on in my life,” he added.
“To be honest, I was very close to calling it quits. I never told my wife that, but I was okay with it, just because it was a very stressful part of my life.”
The 35-year-old was briefly reduced to tears after sealing victory on what was Mother’s Day in the United States and celebrating with his wife Ellie, who is expecting the couple’s fifth child.
“Ellie, she never gave up on me trying to get back to the winner’s circle again. She just always was pushing me to try and get better,” Day said.
“It feels strange to be sitting here. I don’t know how else to explain it. To go through what I went through and then to be able to be a winner again and be in the winner’s circle is very pleasing.”
Day hit the top of the leaderboard when he chipped in for a birdie at the 12th hole of the TPC Craig Ranch course and sealed the win when he picked up a ninth shot with a tap-in at the final hole.
“I came into the week after missing last week’s cut, and I was kind of fed up with having to go over like a lot of technical thoughts with my swing,” he told reporters.
“So I just decided I’m just going to go out and just try and play some golf … For some reason, I just thought that I was going to win the tournament.”
The timing of the win could not be better with the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in New York coming up later this week.
Day won his only major title at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2015.
“After this week, I know that I can win,” he said. “There’s a few subtle things that I have to change technically to feel like I can actually come out and dominate and play very consistent golf.”
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)