Jason Day puts name back in the mix in the search for golf's Next Big Thing

Jason Day missed the playoff at Colonial by one stroke. He finished alone in fourth place.
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

As predicted, Jason Day is the hottest new arrival on the PGA Tour.

It's just that we predicted it a year and a half ago.

Day, 21, was the subject of a glowing profile in the January 2008 GOLF Magazine — cast as the kid who would make everyone in his native Australia forget about Greg Norman, and who would just maybe topple Tiger.

Then came Day's rookie year. Neither familiar with Tour courses nor 100% after a wrist injury suffered in 2007, Day made the cut in just 13 of 28 tournaments. In one grim three-month stretch he missed eight cuts in nine starts. The Next Big Thing not only didn't register as a blip on Tiger's radar, he failed to keep his card.

Fast forward to Sunday in Texas, and Day coming up just a shot short of the three-man playoff to finish T4 at Colonial.

This is what everyone expected of the poised, sweet-swinging Day all along.

(Meanwhile, across the pond, Rory McIlroy, 20, was struggling to a 75 to drop to 12th at the European Open. He was looking so April.)

"My mind is in a good spot right now," Day said after shooting his third straight 65 on Saturday. "I just feel really comfortable with the way I am swinging."

He should. Colonial is Day's home track; he has a home 15 minutes from the course. And he nearly won earlier this year. The part-Filipino Aussie finished T2 at the Tour's Puerto Rico Open, played the week of the WGC-CA Championship.

Still, there was something fresh and surprising about his Colonial finish. Even with the media maw churning out opinion and information 24/7, we somehow forgot about his promise and poise.

Day will play next at this week's Memorial in Dublin, Ohio.

McIlroy is not in the field.

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