Pinoy golf fans have another Day to remember
SACRAMENTO—Not only has Jason Day sparked the recent upswing in television viewing among Filipino-American golf fans.
The 23-year-old golfer of Australian and Filipino parentage has served up the excuse that Pinoy partisans have been waiting for to lift a frosty can or two in front of the television set as the golfing season rolls on.
With two more majors scheduled on network TV, the eyes of the adobo nation will be upon Day, who lighted up HD TV screens last Sunday when he finished runner-up to fellow wunderkind, 22-year-old Rory McIlroy of Ireland in the US Open.
Not only has Day, whose mom Dening hails from Pangasinan, posted his second straight runner-up finish in a major. (He ended up second to 26-year-old Charl Schwartzel at the US Masters last April.) He also jumped nine spots to land number 9 in the world pro golf rankings with earnings of about $7.1 million.
McIlroy—the youngest US Open champion in 90 years, Schwartzel of Vereeniging, South Africa, and Day of Queensland, Australia, lead a new generation of twenty-something golf stars out to seize control from their elders—the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Jim Furyk, and others.
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Golf’s spotlight has fallen on McIlroy, who made the game look easy at the US Open, and Schwartzel, winner of the Masters green jacket after Rory’s classic meltdown previously at Augusta National.
But Day and other young guns, including British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, Scwartzel’s compatriot, and defending PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer of Germany have each proven they are not mere flashes but are future superstars.
One of the year’s most notable performances belongs to Day, a golf pro since 2006 who won his first PGA Tour event, the Byron Nelson Championship in 2010.
He finished fifth in the same tournament this year, tied for sixth in the Players Championship and tied for ninth in the Hyundai Tournament before his sudden surge—those back-to-back runner-up finishes in the first two majors of 2011, the Masters and the Open.
If Day’s fairy-tale forays in golf’s greatest stages are any indication, he will be a top talent for a long while. And to think that before this year’s Masters, he told Aling Dening he’d be happy if he survived the cut at Augusta National.
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With the networks set to broadcast the British Open from Sandwich Kent on July 14 to 17 and the PGA Championship from Atlanta on Aug. 11 to 14, weekend golf warriors and couch potatoes among Fil-Ams are likely to convene more TV klatches to watch Day swing toward greater golfing heights.
Not since women golfers Jennifer Rosales and Dorothy Delasin turned in rousing stints in the LPGA Tour at the start of the new millennium had weekend TV viewing been more fun for the Pinoy golf crowd in the United States.
Delasin (four Tour victories and winnings of over $2.6 million) and Rosales (two Tour victories and winnings of $2.5 million-plus) capped their productive LPGA campaigns in the first decade of 2000 when they teamed up to win the Women’s World Cup in 2008.