World champion golfer Jason Day has written his 12-year-old self a letter about life, death, family self-belief and, of course, golf.
In the letter, published on The Players Tribune, Day starts by telling himself to stop laughing and listen to his older, wiser self.
“Trust me on this one,” he writes, “You’re going to be the No. 1 golfer in the world.
“No — I’m serious, mate. No. 1. The top of the mountain.
“You’re laughing. But not just laughing — I know that now. You’re coping.”
He writes about how the death of his father will affect him, and how he will turn his back on golf.
“You’ll drink. You’ll get into fights.”
But also how his mum will be the one to hold it all together,and give him the advice that will change the course of his life: “She is going to tell you that it’s time to play golf again.”
He says: “Listen to her… You’ll be too young to fully grasp what this means, and what sacrifice it will require from your family for you to attend the Academy. But you’ll have some sense. Trust that sense, and be grateful.”
He urges his younger self to remember that turning pro won’t be easy, and that while all his focus will be on just keeping the Tour Card, the most important thing is to be “all-in”.
“‘Playing to keep your card’ is the enemy of ‘playing to win’,” he writes.
“You’ll soon realize… what it takes to win on Tour — what it takes to be great: You have to be all-in… You need to play to win.”
He writes how 2012 will be the worst year on Tour in terms of results but it will be one of the best years of his life.
“You’re going to become a dad,” he says.
“Every time, given the choice between golf and a family who needs you — there’s going to be a voice in your head, telling you to choose family. That’s good. Listen to that voice.
“You won’t regret it. Being a dad — it’s the most satisfying thing you’ll ever experience… And when the time is right — and you’ll know when it’s right — golf will still be there. I promise.
“So be patient.”
Then comes the win.
He tells 12-year-old Jason to pull out the “How to Win the PGA” notes he made when first starting out, and how the 5am starts before high school will all be worth it because “’Jason Day, major champion.’ It will sound exactly as good as you hope.”
“You’re laughing again,” he ends his letter, “I can tell. You’re thinking I’m crazy. But you just have to trust me on this one. I know that times are tough right now, and I know that you miss your dad — but you just have to trust me.
“It might not always be easy, but it’s going to get easier. It might not always be good, but it’s going to get better.
“And if you can’t see that, staring out at the Beaudesert sky — take my word. From the top of the mountain the view’s pretty clear.”
Read the letter in full here.
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