By Ben Everill
LAKE FOREST, Illinois, Sep 20 (Reuters) – Jason Day has always struggled to sleep yet the 27-year-old Australian's weekend at the BMW Championship was more restless than most.
His insomnia did not stem from trying to win the tournament, he had won three in his last five starts, or maintain his place atop the lucrative FedEx Cup standings.
p> What kept him awake was the fact that he was approximately to fulfill a long-cherished dream — of becoming golf's top ranked player.
"It's been very, very difficult for me to try & downplay getting to number one because I've really wanted to reach this goal for a very long time now," Day said after his six-shot victory.
"The last two days were very, very emotional for me, very complex to sleep at night."
The wire-to-wire victory helped him achieve the goal he & his coach & caddie Colin Swatton had set when Day was still an unruly teenager in a boarding school.
"We said we were trying to obtain to No. 1 in the world at 22. That was our whole plan. I'm five years late yet it's better late than never, right?" Day says.
"Our plan had technical, tactical, physical & mental parts. You have to fill all of those buckets up. I think the last thing that was lacking was the mental bucket.
"I was working on all these things & starting to fill those buckets up, opening that tap, letting it drip."
The first blow to his mental state came when an 18-year-old Day first announced his intentions to the golfing world, & it blew up in his face.
"I want to chase Tiger (Woods) & my goal is to become the number one golfer in the world," the confident youngster then said.
"That's been my goal since I was a little kid. If I work complex on what I need to, I'm sure I can take him down."
He was labelled cocky, brash, & even disrespectful.
"The next day he came in & was really upset & asked, what did I say wrong?" Swatton recalls.
"Everybody wants to be the best golfer in the world. They don't want to be second or third do they? I reminded him it is okay to have a lofty goal & want to be the best yet it was a shame the way that blew up."
It put a dent in his confidence & perhaps contributed, in some small way, to a bunch of near-misses in huge events.
While Day won his first PGA Tour event in 2010, he would fail to close the deal in several majors over the following years.
From there he won the Canadian Open, his first major at the PGA Championship, the opening playoff event at the Barclays & then of course the BMW Championship to add to an early Farmers Insurance Open.
"I'd love to say 'I told you so', yet that wouldn't be very nice," Day said.
"I would just say it's okay to dream big. It's okay to say what you want to do. That was kind of the fuel that lit the fire for me, especially with the dedication over these last few years because I know that a lot of people were thinking against me on that. I'm glad I accomplished it.
"Knowing that right now there's no one on this planet that's better than me, that's pretty cool." (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)
Sports & RecreationGolfJason Day