For being just 28 years old, Jason Day sure thinks about retirement a lot.
We first heard of Day’s possible early retirement on an episode of Feherty earlier this year when the then-22 year old Day wanted to give up the game prior to his first Masters. Then, last week at the U.S. Open, Day told the AAP’s Ben Everill that he had plans for walking away from the game if he ever reached world No. 1, a perch he has frequented over the past 10 months and a position he currently holds.
Speaking at the PGA Championship media day at Baltusrol on Wednesday, Day was asked about his flirtation with retirement and he gave a new watermark. GolfChannel.com’s Will Gray has the details.
“When I get to 40, I’m going to re-evaluate everything and then go from there,” Day said. “Because when I get to 40, I would like to see where I’m at in my career because I might want to go, ‘You know what, I’m done. I’m just happy with everything,’ and I’m going to go off my merry way and I’ll probably never pick up a golf club ever again.
“But it also depends on if (son) Dash is playing, if (daughter) Lucy is playing, if I’m still competitive and my body’s great, because I’m just trying to extend,” he added. “What I’m doing with my body and with my golf game, I’m trying to extend the longevity of my career.”
Day has been world No. 1 for 17 straight weeks, and his win last month at The Players Championship was his third this year and 10th Tour title of his career. Known for his meticulous preparation, Day offered some candid insight about the intangibles that might go into his decision to ultimately call it quits.
“It’s over when you don’t want to improve anymore. It’s over when you’re done improving yourself on and off the golf course,” Day said. “That’s probably the biggest thing, because winning is taken care of by the process that you put into your game. The small victories that you have along the way, with regards to practicing that extra hour when you didn’t really want to, or being out there practicing when you didn’t want to practice that day. Going to the gym when you felt like, ‘You know what, I’ll just take a day off and go tomorrow.’
“They’re the small victories you have, and that’s the process that goes into – they’re the pieces of the puzzle that you slowly etch together to make the big masterpiece, which is the winning formula.”
The kinship Day has created in the past year with Tiger Woods can be seen in a myriad of different lights, but one that is rarely discussed is if Day is just a younger version of Woods; not in the sense of ability, talent or propensity to dominate the sport, but in a physical capacity. Day has notoriously battled his body over his 10-year professional career and to hear him talking about his “legacy” and Hall of Fame credentials prior to this year’s Players Championship, it makes you wonder if Day trusts his body to hold up for another 15-20 years.
For now, we know we have Jason Day at least for the next 12 years. Let’s see what he can do in that span before he reaches the age of his heralded mentor.