Jason Day Leads Australian Charge at PGA Championship, Eyes Olympic Redemption

Six Australian golfers are hoping to end an 8-year stretch of American dominance at this week’s US PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.

All eyes are on the Valhalla Golf Club this week as six Australian golfers gear up to challenge for the PGA Championship. In a tournament historically dominated by American players, the last eight winners have hailed from the United States, with Brooks Koepka clinching the title three times and Justin Thomas twice within the past decade.

The PGA Championship’s penchant for favoring American-style golf courses, characterized by long rough, soft greens, and target-oriented play, may explain the recent trend of American champions. Notably, the last non-American to win was Australia’s own Jason Day in 2015, someone Australian golf fans who jestingly refer to him as “American” due to his infrequent participation in Australian tournaments.

Adding to the intrigue this week, Valhalla Golf Club holds significant memories for golf fans. A decade ago, in 2014, Rory McIlroy secured his second consecutive major victory by edging out Phil Mickelson buy a single stroke. It was McIlroy’s second consecutive major victory at the time promoting Mickelson to refer to the Northern Irishman as the best player in the world. One wouldn’t expect such glowing comments from Mickelson if McIlroy were to win this week given their differences over the LIV Golf disruption.

Among the Australian contingent vying for glory are Lucas Herbert and Cameron Smith, both granted exemptions to compete despite their participation in the LIV Tour.

Joining them are seasoned veterans Adam Scott and Jason Day, along with rising stars Min Woo Lee and Cameron Davis. Of the group, Day emerges as the bookies’ favourite to lead the Australian charge, buoyed by his recent stellar form and a commendable world ranking within the top 20. With four top-10 finishes this year, including a notable 6th place at the Wells Fargo Championship, Day aims to harness his momentum and make a significant impact at Valhalla.

Jason Day has expressed his eagerness to represent Australia at the upcoming Olympics in Paris, marking a potential turnaround from his decision to skip the event in Rio 2016.

“I’ll play. If I’m in, I’ll play for sure,” Day affirmed, signaling his readiness to embrace the opportunity. Reflecting on his previous absence from the Olympics, Day candidly admitted, “I think I made a bit of a mistake not going down to Rio, even though part of it was family related.”

The selection process for the Olympic team hinges on world ranking points, and should Day secure his spot, he would be joined by Min Woo Lee as his playing partner, given Lee’s standing as the second-highest-ranked Australian male golfer.

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