MELBOURNE, Australia – Australian golfer Jason Day paused several times to compose himself when he spoke Monday about the deaths of eight of his relatives, including his grandmother, in Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
“They found, I think, eight of our relatives. Six of them were children, and my grandma, and a couple more,” Day said after practicing at Royal Melbourne, where he’s scheduled to play in the World Cup as part of Australia’s team with Adam Scott. “It’s such a tragedy. I feel for my mother.”
Day said the most difficult part was not being able to contact his relatives, many of whom lived in the area around Tacloban, the capital of hardest-hit Leyte province. The typhoon has killed nearly 4,000 people and left more than a thousand missing.
“It’s been toughest on my mother, there’s been no communication,” Day said as he stood next to the 10th green at Royal Melbourne. “Everything got wiped out in the area around where my grandma and my relatives lived. The only way we could communicate with anyone was with our relatives in Manila through Facebook. They did the searching.”
Day’s mother, Dening, migrated to Australia from the Philippines 30 years ago.
In an earlier statement released by the PGA Tour, Day said he was deeply saddened by the deaths of his relatives.
“My family and I are thankful for all who have reached out with their prayers and concern,” he said. “We feel devastated for all who have been affected by this horrific tragedy. Please pray for all who have suffered loss. Thank you.”
Day is playing at Royal Melbourne as Australia’s second-highest ranked player at No. 20. Scott is No. 2 and the Australians are among the favorites for the tournament that has team and individual components. The tournament starts Thursday.
Day, who has had a five-week break before the World Cup, also is entered in the Australian Open at Royal Sydney next week.