How Jason Day won the 2016 major championship season -- without winning a major
With all due respect to Jordan Spieth, who had a historic 2015 campaign by claiming two majors and contending in all four, no one had a better chance of winning a big one in 2016 than Jason Day. The Aussie was the betting favorite in all four majors and entered all four as the No. 1 player according to the Official World Golf Ranking. Alas, a follow-up major to add to his 2015 PGA title never happened for Day, but he did come out on top in another way.
Day finished with the low cumulative score of golfers who made the cut at all four majors. And it wasn't even close.
At nine under par, Day beat Spieth by 12 shots thanks to finishes of T-10 at the Masters, T-8 at the U.S. Open, T-22 at the British Open, and a close-call runner-up to Jimmy Walker at the PGA Champion. Day and Spieth were two of only 14 players to play the weekend at all four majors. They also finished 1-2 in this stat last year with Spieth coming out ahead thanks to a 54-under total, which broke Tiger Woods' mark from 2000.
While Spieth and Day leading the way isn't surprising, the rest of the list was filled with names you might not expect. Checking in at third was Emiliano Grillo, who played the final 36 holes in the penultimate pairing at the PGA with Jason Day, at 10 over. The 23-year-old Argentine had a sneaky-good major season with a T-13 at the PGA, a T-12 at the British Open, a T-17 at the Masters and a T-54 at the U.S. Open.
Speaking of quiet, how about Kevin Na finishing fourth at 13 over? He was followed by Lee Westwood (+14), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (+15), and a threesome at 16 over: Martin Kaymer, Danny Willett, and Bill Haas. Adam Scott (+17), Bubba Watson (+26), Justin Thomas (+27), and Kevin Kisner (+29) round out the list.
Other things to note: Willett was the only 2016 major champ to make the cut in the year's four majors. And four-time major champ Rory McIlroy missed the cut in two majors, while finishing T-10 at the Masters and T-5 at the British Open.
So what does it all mean? For young players like Grillo and Thomas, it's something to build upon. But for the guys like Day and Spieth? Not much.
"I just want to win," said Day, who now has four runner-ups to go with his lone major title. "And the big stuff, you know, the major championships, the Players, the WGCs."