Jason Day has seen his chances of winning the $US18 million ($AU28 million) cheque and the FedEx Cup trophy go up in smoke in brutal scenes in the PGA Tour Championship finale, but has still walked away with $811,000. The Aussie golfer was an outside chance of taking the title at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta, and made the tricky decision to play amid the impending birth of his fifth child with wife Ellie.
But Day had a nightmare third round on Saturday (local time), producing a four-over 74 to fall out of contention. He then had a three-over final round to finish 28th in the 30-man field.
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Under the FedEx Cup finale scoring system, Day started nine shots behind Scottie Scheffler heading into the tournament and was boosted by the American's poor showing in the first round. However the Aussie star wasn't able to match it with the likes of Viktor Hovland - who went on to win by five five shots at 27-under.
Hovland held a six-stroke lead over Xander Schauffele after the third round, and finished off the job on Sunday to capture the $28m prize. "The list of names that's been on that trophy is pretty special," Hovland said. "It feels more like a sprint. Obviously, it's a marathon getting into this week. But it's hard to win the FedEx Cup if you haven't played well the last few weeks."
Hovland began the third round tied for the lead with Collin Morikawa, but his rounds of 68, 64, 66 and 63 vaulted him to the outright lead. Morikawa made two bogeys and a double to card a 73 on Saturday, before a two-over final round.
The World No.1 Scheffler had four bogeys and didn't make a birdie until the final hole on Saturday for a 73. After starting the week in first place at 10-under, the American finished tied for sixth with Morrikawa and Tommy Fleetwood.
Jason Day's tricky family dilemma at Tour Championship finale
Day's collapse will come as a disappointing blow after he made the decision to leave his heavily pregnant wife at home in Ohio to chase the $28 million prize. Day, a 13-time PGA Tour winner who ended a five-year drought in May by capturing the trophy at the Byron Nelson, missed the 2012 Open Championship due to the arrival of his first-born son Dash.
But he received the blessing of wife Ellie to potentially miss the birth of their fifth child to play in Atlanta. Ellie said she wanted her husband to remain at East Lake Country Club this weekend if she goes into labour, instead of returning home to Ohio.
Day had earlier told Golf Digest: "She said, 'You're not likely to make it back in time if I do go into labour'. We're having a home birth. She said I may as well just play the tournament and try to win.
"I'm just hoping that Ellie holds out another week or two weeks and I can be there and spend some time with my family. I think if this was my first (child), I'd be a little bit more nervous about it."
Although he didn't manage to stage a late comeback in the final round, Day will still walk away with $US520,000 (AU$811,000) for his troubles.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 27, 2023
Tour Championship Payouts (all in USD):
1. Viktor Hovland | $18 million
2. Xander Schauffele | $6.5 million
3. Wyndham Clark | $5 million
4. Rory McIlroy | $4 million
5. Patrick Cantlay | $3 million
T6. Tommy Fleetwood, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa | $2 million
T9. Max Homa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sam Burns, Adam Schenk, Keegan Bradley | $990,000
T14. Russell Henley, Sepp Straka | $780,000
T16. Rickie Fowler, Tyrrell Hatton | $710,000
T18. Lucas Glover, Jon Rahm | $670,000
T20. Si Woo Kim, Tony Finau, Tom Kim | $620,000
23. Brian Harman | $580,000
24. Sungjae Im | $565,000
25. Nick Taylor | $550,000
26. Corey Conners | $540,000
27. Jordan Spieth | $530,000
28. Jason Day | $520,000
T29. Taylor Moore, Emiliano Grillo | $505,000
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