The newest PGA Champion knows how to overcome adversity. And, know what, his Filipino blood has a lot to something do about it.
Jason Day won the tournament held at Kholer, Wisconsin, USA via a historic fashion when he fired a 68-67-66-67 to tally up his score to a 20-under par 268. His 20-under broke the previous majors record held by the great Tiger Woods of 19-under established at the British Open in 2000.
Jason is a Fil-Foreigner as the offspring of Irish-Australian Alvin and Filipino Dening, who is from Carigara, Leyte. Both mother and son lived in Australia since their pair was born. According to the Herald Sun, Dening and Alvin met in here in the Philippines and married in 1981. Jason was their third child and only son, following Yana and Kim.
According to PGA.com, Dening migrated to Australia some 32 years ago. Dening lost her mother, a brother and six other relatives when Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda here, hit the country. During the onset, the growing family lived in Beaudesert, then at Rockhampton, Queensland.
In an article written for For The Win, Luke Kerr-Dineen revealed how Alvin was the disciplinarian of the family while Dening was the one who would console them after the whipping, a typical attitude of a Filipino family. Alvin would whip Jason with the belt and Dening would hug him and tell its okay when the “punishment” was already done. This sequence, though, would keep Jason straight.
It was also Alvin who introduced him to golf. As Jason, himself, detailed it to the Herald Sun: “One day he (Alvin) went to the tip and he saw this old three-iron someone had thrown out. He brought it home and gave it to me and put a ball in front of me and I just went ‘whoosh’ and hit it all the way to the gate. Dad turned to mum and said, ‘This guy’s going to be a champion’.” He was three at that time.
The mother and son trials started when Alvin passed away when Jason was only 12 due to stomach cancer. Losing his father made him also lost his interest and support for golf. “It was when Alvin passed on that Jason lost his footing. He had no one … and I was a little bit soft for him,” Dening said to The Advertiser. “He was drinking and listening to his peers instead of his parent.”, she continued.
It was at that point that Dening decided not to lose his son after losing his husband. She did the utmost sacrifice financially and emotionally. She sold their family home in Beaudesert and moved back from Rockhampton and send Day to attend Kooralbyn International School splitting the 12-year old son, who has never living away from his parents before, from the mother. “It was the last resort to sell the house but it was not a choice because, for me, I had to give him that chance to be the very good golfer he had the potential to be,” Dening said to The Advertiser.
According to the Herald Sun, Jason resisted at first, fighting against his coach and running away. Out of the blue, a new window opened. When things began to clear out, Jason decided it was stupid to waste the sacrifice Dening had done for him. He went back to school, apologized and started working hard. Lo and Behold, the Kooralbyn experience, then later on Hills International College, at the tutorship and wing of his coach, Col Swatton, would slowly turn darkness back to light.
The turn-around became complete when Day got hold of a book about Woods and challenged himself to shoot the score that Tiger got at the same age. That’s when Day got really serious. He started getting up at five every morning and practicing. He would write down every score he shot and compared it to what Tiger shot at the same time.
And Day, The Golfer, was launched on the road.
Pinoys are generally known to be resilient to adversity and very resourceful persons who can sacrifice economically just to achieve a personal goal. Dening wasn’t any different.
And good thing Jason became wise not to waste the opportunities presented to him by his mother. It is now bearing fruits that only his father would probably have imagined back then when he was still alive.