Jason Day defeated Louis Oosthuizen 5 and 4 Sunday to win the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play after going toe-to-toe with Rory McIlroy in the semifinals.
Day’s victory notwithstanding, it already was an eventful week for the talented Aussie, who has reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in the world. Day started the tournament with a convincing win over Graeme McDowell on Wednesday, but appeared to seriously injure his back. He even hobbled off the 18th green and declined to speak with reporters.
This isn’t the first time Day has suffered apparent tournament-ending injuries only to bounce back with strong performances the next day. No one knows for sure what Day is feeling in those moments, but he’s starting to build a bit of a reputation as an over-exaggerator.
From a golf perspective, however, Day was brilliant once again. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, he came back and won a WGC event in which all but two (Henrik Stenson and Jim Furyk) of the top 64 golfers in the world rankings were playing.
Day and fellow Australian Adam Scott have now won four of the last five tournaments on tour. They will both be heavy favorites heading into the Masters in two weeks.
Though the final didn’t go his way, Oosthuizen has a lot of positives to take out of this event. The South African beat Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson to get to the semifinals, where he then dispatched Rafael Cabrera-Bello. Oosthuizen will also be someone to watch heading into Augusta.
Cabrera-Bello won holes 14, 15 and 16 to upset McIlroy 3 and 2 in the consolation match. The strong finish got him into the Masters and inched him closer to a Ryder Cup spot.
McIlroy, the defending champion, settled for fourth. Nonetheless, he should feel confident after playing well most of the week.
For his efforts, Oosthuizen, rose from No 18 to No 11 in the rankings, with compatriot Branden Grace moving down one spot to No 13.