Jason Day is a new man at Augusta after good news on mom's health

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Jason Day is a new man at Augusta after good news on mom's health

PGA Tour

Jason Day is a new man at Augusta after good news on mom's health

AUGUSTA, Ga. – No chemo.

Two words lifted the weight of the world off the shoulders of Jason Day. Eleven days after his beloved mother, Dening, underwent surgery to remove a cancerous mass that was 3 1/2 centimeters out of her left lung, Day learned that she won’t need to undergo chemotherapy.

He drove down Magnolia Lane a new man.

“I owe everything to her,” he said in a heartfelt press conference on Tuesday at Augusta National.

A grateful Day, 29, took the opportunity in between questions to thank well-wishers for the outpouring of support he has received in recent weeks. Talking openly about his pain, sometimes tearfully, has been cathartic for the former World No. 1.

Everyone, he said, feels like family now.

“The only thing I haven’t done is showered in front of you guys yet,” the Aussie joked.

Day enters his seventh Masters understandably less prepared than what he likes, but perhaps that’s a good thing. Everything he does now is with a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration given what might have been.

This is a man who knows what it’s like to experience deep loss.

Day lost his father to stomach cancer at age 12. Dening took a second mortgage on the house and borrowed money from family to send a troubled Jason seven hours away to Koralbyn International School in Queensland. It was there that he met Colin Swatton, his instrumental coach and caddie.

Dening’s sacrifice and vision for her son took him to the game’s greatest heights. Which is why, despite Dening telling Jason to go and not worry, as mothers do, Jason felt torn at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He wanted to be there for her surgery. Felt selfish, in fact, about being in Austin as defending champion and ultimately couldn’t stand over one more golf shot. He abruptly quit after the sixth hole in his match against Pat Perez.

“I just knew that I needed to be back home,” he said.

At first it was tough for Day to convince Dening that she needed to come to the U.S. for treatment. At 4-foot-11, Dening is a woman of few words, but she’s got that mom look, the one that strikes fear in a grown man.

When doctors in Australia gave her only 12 months to live, Day grew adamant.

“She’s very, very stubborn,” Day said. “She was coughing up blood for three months and didn’t even bother telling anyone about it. That’s how stubborn she is.”

While Dening gets credit for giving Day the opportunity to make a living on the PGA Tour, the inspiration, he said, came from Tiger Woods and Augusta National. This is Day’s favorite week of the year. And the thought of his mother potentially coming down from Ohio to watch him compete at the Masters for the first time was enough to make his heart swell.

Before Day left his home in Dublin, Ohio, to travel to Augusta, he gave mom a kiss and told her that he’d see her soon.

“OK, I love you,” she replied.

And off he went, with the strength to conquer the world.

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