SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — This hurts, but it’s not the writhing, seething pain he felt a year ago at St. Andrews, where Jason Day wondered if it was ever going to happen for him in a major championship.
There at the home of golf, Day let an excellent opportunity slip away over the closing holes, missing a playoff by one excruciating shot, the doubts surrounding him growing darker and deeper as he left The Open.
Here, another opportunity presented itself at the PGA Championship, and Day again came up a shot short of a playoff, having to watch from the 18th green at Baltusrol Golf Club as Jimmy Walker holed the winning par putt, defenseless to do anything.
But this loss was different.
But had the situation been normal, Day’s third-round 67 would have put him in a final pairing with Walker, who had his own issues to deal with in trying to win his first major.
“Yes, that would have been nice,” Day said. “It would have been nice to play in the last group with him, just to be able to go back and forth with him, maybe put a little bit more pressure on him, because usually that becomes a match play format, where you’re going back and forth. More mistakes or crucial moments can happen in situations like that.”
Day wasn’t complaining. He understood exactly why it played out as it did. And he was gracious in defeat, waiting beside the green to congratulate Walker and his family.
So Day won’t be losing any sleep.
In fact, he expected to sleep quite well, given the level of exhaustion that came with a grueling final day that ended up being one shot too many.