Great Day for his mom’s roots, too
Jason Day talked very little about his ethnicity while he was a still a top amateur and all through his first few years on the PGA Tour.
Unless interviewed directly on the topic, Day never publicly acknowledged his Filipino roots—his mother Adenil Grapilon, or Dening to friends, is from Carigara, Leyte—and never spoke the language.
Day represented Australia a couple of times in the World Cup of Golf, winning the individual title in 2013 while pairing with golf academy classmate Adam Scott to rule the team championship.
But he finally showed his Filipino heart after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” tore through the midsection of his mom’s country in November 2013.
Day lost his grandmother—Dening’s mother, an uncle and six cousins.
“For me, being half-Australian, half-Filipino, after something like that (Yolanda) happens, you tend to bend towards that way (being Filipino),” Day said in an interview with Matt Murnane for the Sydney Morning Herald a few days after the typhoon struck.
Dening may not be on the 18th hole of Whistling Straits on Sunday to witness her son’s day of glory, but one thing is certain: The long-hitting Aussie will not be where he is now if not for his mom’s love (See related story on A1).
Day lost his father Alvin, an Irish-Australian, to stomach cancer when he was 12 in 1999.
A report on the Heavy website on June 21 said Dening sold their house so that Jason, shattered by the death, could attend Hills International College.
“The move appeared to have paid off as Jason has made nearly $21 million in earnings on the (golf) course,” said the report written by Craig Bennett.
That amount still doesn’t include the $1.8-million windfall he picked up for winning the PGA Championship.
In a 2010 interview with Golf Grinder, Day said he didn’t even know where his mother’s hometown was, but pledged to “one day take my mom back there (to the Philippines)—she hasn’t been back in a while.”
Half a decade has passed and Day hasn’t set foot on the Philippines. But as sure as the sun rises, this basketball-crazy nation will easily embrace him as one of its own—a Filipino golf major champion.