Whether it’s a legendary golfer attempting to maintain their reign or a new golfer trying to make a mark in the challenging sport, the PGA Tour always presents amazing stories of strive, struggle, and accomplishment. The 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson PGA Tour was no different and introduced some great life lessons.
Let’s take a look at the inspiring stories of three golfers, Jason Day, James Hahn, and Billy Horschel, who never gave up on their dream and emerged as top golfers admired across the world.
Jason Day is a professional golfer from Australia with multiple major tournament victories—these include HP Byron Nelson Tournament, WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, PGA Championship, The Barclays, BMW Championship, The Players Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational, and more—to his name. He first broke into the top ten in the World Golf ranking in June 2011, and with some scintillating wins, including the 2015 PGA Championship, became the world number 1 in September 2015. In 2016, Day won his second WGC title and joined Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy as the only multiple winners of WGC Match Play.
Day’s is a story of courage, grit, and perseverance – the one that inspires to follow your passion, never give up, and strive hard every day to overcome obstacles and challenges. His father died when Jason was just 12, leading to a troubled childhood that involved drinking, fights at school, and troubled family life. Once he was sent to a boarding school by his mother, Jason started to turn his life around after pursuing his passion of golf.
Day entered the world of golf at the age of six, and secured his first win in an Australian Masters Junior event on the Gold Coast in the year 2000 when he was 13. As an amateur, he received the Australian Junior Order of Merit (AJOM) twice. In 2004, he won the Australian Boys’ Amateur and continued his winning streak to the United States where he won the Boys 15–17 division at the Callaway World Junior Championship the same year.
In July 2006, Day turned professional after winning the Green Jacket at the NEC Master of the Amateurs, immediately followed by signing with TaylorMade and Adidas. Thanks to the sponsors’ exemptions, he immediately began playing PGA Tour events.
Day made the cut in five of his first six PGA Tour events with a best finish of eleventh at the Reno-Tahoe Open. He entered the Q-school or PGA Tour qualifying and placed second of three rounds. By tying for first in his section of the second round, he advanced to the finals. However, in the six-round finals, his performance was not good enough. He shot fifteen shots higher than the required score to qualify. Consequently, Day failed to get a 2007 PGA tour card but managed to earn a conditional status on the Nationwide tour for 2007.
The setback did not deter the professional golfer as he persisted and continued his resolve and hard work to achieve great success that he wanted so earnestly. He won his first Nationwide Tour event in July 2007 and became the youngest man to win on any of the PGA’s three tours. By finishing 5th in the money list, he earned his PGA card for 2008. In 2009, Day had an average season, but he managed to acquire a PGA card due to conditional status. He finished second in Puerto Rico open, allowing him to retain his PGA card for 2010.
2010 brought the biggest victory for Day when he won his first PGA Tour event: HP Byron Nelson Championship. Winning the championship allowed him to gain entry into his first major championship at the 2010 Open Championship.
The four years that followed brought more challenges and fewer accomplishments for Day. He didn’t manage to win a big championship until 2014. In these four years, he competed in a number of tournaments but always fell short of the title win. Day, however, wasn’t bogged down and continued working even harder at his game.
His never-say-die spirit combined with sustained efforts led him to achieve more victories and he managed to become the world number 1 in September 2015.
James Hahn is an American professional golfer, born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Alameda, California.
From a full-time shoe salesman more than a decade ago to make ends meet, Hahn has come a long way to be considered a highly respected and competitive golfer in the world today. And he achieved it by never giving up his dream to be a top golfer. At PGA Tour 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson, he scared much-higher ranked golfers like Jason Day and Billy Horschel by winning the third round.
Hahn turned professional in 2003 and played the Korean Tour, Canadian Tour, and the Gateway Tour before joining the Nationwide Tour in 2010. He picked up his first big win in 2012 at the Rex Hospital Open. He flew to California and participated in the sectional qualifying for the U.S open the very next day and emerged victorious there as well, leading to his participation in the 2012 US Open. Hahn won his first PGA Tour in 2015 at the Northern Trust Open, earning him an entry into the top 100 in the world and an entry in the 2015 Masters Tournament.
William John Horschel, also known as Billy Horschel, is an American professional golfer born and raised in Grant, Florida. He is the winner of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 2013, BMW Championship and The Tour Championship in 2014, and the AT&T Byron Nelson in 2017.
He turned professional in 2009 and gained his PGA tour card through qualifying school in 2010. Due to a wrist injury, he could only manage to participate in four PGA tours but failed to make a cut in any of them.
He regained his PGA card in December 2010 and made the cut at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, his first in eleven PGA tours. He finished third at the True South Classic in 2012. His personal best on the Web.com Tour is fourth position at the Stadion Classic at UGA in 2012.
He managed to regain his PGA card after a third successful attempt in four Q-schools.
2013 began with Horschel making the cut in every tournament he entered. 2013 was also the year where he got his first big win, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. This victory boosted his position to number 3 in FedEx Cup standings, number 3 on the PGA Tour money list, and 49 in the World Golf Ranking. This earned him entry into major tournaments, such as 2013 PGA Championship, 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, The Players Championship, and the 2014 Masters tournament. His winning streak came to an end when he missed the cut at The Players Championship.
Horschel bounced back in 2014, bagging two major championships that year. However, things quiet down for Horschel since then. He participated in events but couldn’t quite make it. He competed in the 2016 RSM Classic PGA tour but was eliminated with par in the first hole. His wife’s battle with alcoholism and taking sole responsibility of their daughter severely affected his game – his ranking plummeted nearly 70 spots in two years.
Not the one to be bogged down by the challenging circumstances, Horschel persevered, supporting his wife, taking care of their daughter, and never doubting himself. At the 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson, Horschel amazed everyone as he won the playoff against Day and went on to take the lead and the victory from James Hahn.
With golf as their passion, these three gentlemen have won and lost over the course of time. When met with challenges, they have preserved and persisted, and finally turning the tide and emerging victorious.
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