Two months ago, with one of his best friends in contention for a U.S. Open title, Brandon Dubinsky rallied the troops for a last-minute trip to Chambers Bay Golf Course.
It didn’t happen for Jason Day on that Sunday in Washington, but opportunities presented themselves at both the British Open, and more recently, at the PGA Championship in Kohler, Wisc.
In golf, Saturday’s third round is known as “moving day,” and Day made quite a move to get himself in the mix once again for that elusive first major. He mastered Whistling Straits with a third-round 66 to take the lead over Jordan Spieth, and it wasn’t long after that round that Dubinsky was on the phone once again.
Former Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski, one of Day’s closest friends and a terrific golfer in his own right, got Jared Boll on board and Dubinsky was right behind him.
In short order, they had booked an early Sunday morning flight from Columbus to Kohler.
Wisniewski had to leave the grounds early, but Dubinsky and Boll were with Day all the way through as he put on a record-breaking performance, finishing at 20-under par and winning by three over Spieth. The first career major for the Westerville native was long overdue, but one that was made extra special with his close friends in attendance.
“It’s such a cool opportunity to be able to go there and witness your friend compete for a major championship, and I’m really happy it turned out the way it did,” Dubinsky told BlueJackets.com. “It was a matter of time for Jason. I said it at his charity event just after the U.S. Open – and after the British Open, too – that this was coming. He was due.
“I just had a good feeling about it and I felt he was going to get it done, so we made the call to fly to Wisconsin and watch it happen. It was an awesome experience and we’re pretty fortunate to be able to share it with him.”
As noted above, Day had repeatedly put himself in position to break through the major championship barrier – and the last two were heartbreakers before the PGA.
He narrowly missed out on a playoff at the U.S. Open and finished one shot out of a three-man playoff at the Open Championship held at St. Andrews, one of the special places in the game where every player dreams of winning.
But he kept pushing and kept his foot on the gas pedal. To those who know him best, Day’s persistence and eventual victory at the PGA Championship was no surprise.
“I’m just happy for him because he’s been working his ass off for so long and he’s had a few chances and has been knocking on the door,” Dubinsky said. “For him to break through…it was really cool. He didn’t back his way into winning a major, either; he went out there on Sunday and shot 67 and won it, and broke the record for lowest total in a major.
“He’s such a good person, too, as everyone in Columbus knows. He deserves this. He’s the kind of guy that you couldn’t be happier for him to win, and I think we’re going to have a few more major celebrations in the years to come."