Jason Day has three PGA Tour wins, eight top-10 major finishes, a No. 9 world golf ranking and is entering the final round of the 2015 Open Championship in a tie for first place.
Perhaps more impressive than any of that is his family. His wife, Ellie, travels with him tournament-to-tournament and hole-to-hole. His son, Dash, is adorable. His mother and late father encouraged and supported his golf career.
Here’s everything you need to know about those closest to the 27-year-old Australian star.
1. His Father Passed Away When Jason Was 12
However, tragedy struck when Jason was 12, as Alvin passed away after a bout with stomach cancer. It was an incredibly difficult loss for Jason and his two sisters, Yanna and Kim, and as he explained, he entered a period of mischief as a result:
Losing a family member so young, especially losing your dad, it’s a pretty big loss in your family. It broke up our family a lot. My sister and I, we went pretty badly. There was me getting in trouble at school, doing stupid stuff.
I didn’t really care about anything. I was very wild. I got into trouble a lot [and] did all the bad stuff.
2. His Mother Took Out a Second Mortgage to Send Him to a Prestigious Golf Academy
Dening, who is originally from the Philippines and moved to Australia in the early 1980’s, could see the potential in Jason but could also see him getting into a lot of trouble. Instead of sending him to a typical boarding school, though, she sent him to Kooralbyn International School, which has since closed but had its own golf course and was known for producing stud athletes such as fellow golfer Adam Scott. The move forced Jason to focus on golf and ultimately turned his life around.
Jason, who has made more than $20 million in career prize earnings, repaid the favor by paying off the mortgages on his mother’s house.
3. His Coach and Caddie Has Acted as a Second Father
One of the reasons Day was able to get out of trouble when he went to Kooralbyn International School was the presence of golf coach Colin Swatton, who has served as Day’s coach and caddie ever since. Col may not be Day’s family by blood, but that’s really only a technicality.
“He’s been my coach for 12 years now,” said Day three years ago. “He’s family. It feels like he’s my right arm. I couldn’t play golf without him.”
Swatton was the best man as Day’s wedding.
4. He Is Married With a 3-Year-Old Son
Jason met Ellie Harvey, who was working at a restaurant in Ohio that Jason and Swatton often frequented, in 2005, but they didn’t begin dating until 2007. They married of October 2009–“We fell for each other really fast,” Ellie says–and had their first son, Dash, in July 2012.
The Days are undoubtedly one of the most popular young families in golf. They travel from tournament to tournament together in an RV, and Ellie–most of the time with Dash–consistently walks with Jason to each hole during tournaments.
Ellie is also pregnant with the couple’s second child.
5. His Grandmother Died During Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
Tragedy struck a second time for Day in 2013, when the devastating typhoon in the Philippines claimed the lives of thousands, including his grandmother, uncle, cousins and eight relatives in all.
In early 2014, Brighter Days Foundation, which was founded by Jason and Ellie, provided relief and supplies for 75,000 victims in need.
“Though we can’t do anything to bring loved ones back, what we can do is provide hope as well as the necessities to those still living in terrible conditions,” said Day. “The relief efforts will be continuing for a long time, and Ellie and I are humbled to have the opportunity to help those in such great need.”