U.S. Open 2019: Jason Day explains hiring Steve Williams: ‘I’ve severely underachieved’
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Jason Day made waves this week when he announced the hire of caddie legend Steve Williams. On Tuesday, in his pre-U.S. Open press conference, he explained the decision, and how he hopes it can ultimately get him back to world No. 1.
To hear Williams tell it, he was enjoying a Bruce Wayne-style disappearance from the public eye. After his former boss Tiger Woods won the Masters, Williams admitted he had broken his “no-golf rule” to watch Sunday’s round.
“Watching that final round, it’s literally the first time in five years that I’ve seen him swing a golf club,” he said at the time.
Now, Williams is seeing golf at the top levels of the game, returning full-time for the first stretch since his tenure ended with Adam Scott. Day said the key was a convincing sales pitch.
“He says that I pulled him out of a hole,” Day said. “But the hole was probably about as flat as this bloody table here. Because he was enjoying retired life back at home, with his kid, Jett, and his wife. He’s got his racing, you know. He came back on the bag to win major championships.”
That’s the same reason, more or less, that Day said he brought back the legendary caddie. Day spoke extensively and honestly about how he has “underachieved” to this point in his career.
“I’ve underachieved, yeah. Severely underachieved, I think,” he said. “And granted, I have to work on a few things, mentally and physically, with regards to my golf game. But I think I’ve underachieved up until now.”
Day believes that Williams’ raw honesty will be crucial to climbing from his current position at world No. 16 back to the top of the game.
“I know that his drive and his will to be successful is very, very high,” Day said. “I think he’s kind of a no-BS kind of guy. He’ll tell you straight. He told me that, If you’re not working hard enough, I’m gone. So that’s pretty much a good enough incentive to go out and bust your butt.”
To this point, Day has accomplished plenty. The 31-year-old Australian owns 12 PGA Tour wins, the 2015 PGA Championship, and nearly a year’s worth of time spent at world No. 1. But now that he’s fallen from that throne, he wants it back.
“And that’s ultimately what I want to do, is I want to win more,” Day said. “I told Steve, Look, My goal is to get back to No. 1 in the world. But I want to do everything I possibly can to get there. If I need to do whatever you need to tell me, I’ll do it.”
Day said the best piece of advice Williams has given him thus far in their time together is a simple one:
“Work hard,” Day said. “No, seriously, like — you don’t get anywhere in life without sacrificing and working hard. That’s just plain and simple. And you’ve got to work smart. But you’ve got to have the goals. You’ve got to have your short-term, your medium goals, and your lofty goals. And that’s kind of what he’s done, is really open my eyes back to trying to stay focused on those.”
Day tees off at 11:02 a.m. ET on Thursday alongside Patton Kizzire and amateur Jovan Rebula.