PGA Championship: Jason Day goes from poverty to pinnacle with first major

    (CNN)From the rubbish dump to the real deal -- Jason Day says the hardship of his early life and the sacrifices of his family propelled him to the U.S. PGA Championship title.

    The Australian, whose father gave him an old golf club he found in a trash tip when he was just three years old, told CNN that his success was all to do with the love and devotion of his family.
    Day, now 27, claimed the first major title of his career with a record score of 20 under par at Whistling Straits on Sunday after carding a 67 in his final round.
      It marked a life-changing moment for Day, whose latest achievement marks a fairytale chapter in a story which began in adversity.
      When his father, Alvin, died from stomach cancer, Day was just 12 -- he was a young boy heading off in the wrong direction in a world which appeared to offer him little opportunity.
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      "I was getting in fights at schools and I was drinking at a young age," Day told CNN's Don Riddell.
      "You know when I lost my dad, there was no-one there to be the disciplinarian and we kind of ran amok.
      "My sister ran away for four years, she was living on the streets. I didn't know where she was and then I was getting in trouble.
      "My dad, he was very rough with us -- he wasn't the greatest dad. When we were together, we were kind of a broken family after my dad passed away because of all what had happened."
      A tearful Jason Day celebrates with his wife Ellie after winning the 2015 PGA Championship.
      While Day may not have spoken glowingly of his Irish-Australian father, he knows that had it not been for Alvin salvaging an old club then life may have turned out differently.
      Life at home was hard -- money was scarce. His mother, Philippines-born Dening, would have to boil water for hot showers in the winter.
      She would tend the grass by hand -- using a knife to cut each individual blade of grass as there was no money to fix the lawnmower.
      As a teenager, Day was a tearaway. He began drinking, getting into fights and stayed out late. Playing golf would eventually bring him back on the right path.
      "Things really do happen a reason," said Day, who now has career earnings of over $23 million following his third tournament victory this year.
      "Who knew that a kid from a farm in Beaudesert in Queensland, Australia, would be a PGA Championship winner? I didn't expect that and it's pretty amazing to me."
      Day, now the world No. 3 and $1.8 million richer after Sunday's victory, is clearly aware of his privileged position.
      Married to Ellie, they have one son, Dash, and are expecting their second child.
      Ellie, who live tweeted her husband's final round, travels with Day as much as she can, sharing in a life which barely looked possible when Day was a young tearaway.
      Sent to boarding school by his mother, who remortgaged her house and borrowed money from family, Day's life was transformed at the Kooralbyn International School.
      There he met the man who would guide him through the next phase of his life -- and eventually carry his bag on the pro circuit.
      Colin Swatton took on the role of coach, mentor and second father -- and the duo have never looked back.
      Day credits Swatton, the man who has been with him since the age of 12, with helping him progress not just as one of the world's top golfers but also as a human being.
      They have been inseparable since Day arrived as a tearaway kid who had developed a liking for alcohol and was prone to temper tantrums.
      "Colin is always open to learning and that's what rubbed off on me the most -- being able to really understand what is right and what is wrong, not only you know in golf but in life as well," Day said.
      "It has been a pretty crazy ride from where I was to where I am now."
      As Day approached the final stretch at Whistling Straits, the emotion of the occasion began to sink in.
      He began to think of those who had sacrificed so much for him to make this journey -- his mother, his sisters and his father.
      Day had been here before -- but never cleared the final hurdle.
      He finished second at the 2011 Masters and was runner-up at the U.S Open in the same year and also 2013.
      At the 2015 U.S. Open he was derailed by a bout of vertigo as he threatened to break his duck, and then at last month's Open Championship at St. Andrews he registered his ninth top-10 finish at a major, tying for fourth.
      But this was different -- this was his time.
      "When the first putt went to half a foot, then I really started crying and I felt like a baby," he said of Sunday's final hole.
      "I didn't expect that much emotion would ever come out of me.
      "You know, I'd see guys in major championships and they'd be sitting there crying. I'm like, 'Oh that guy's crying,' and I can't believe that guy's crying.
      "I didn't expect that much emotion to really just come out because it's been such a long time.
      "I've come a long way through the heartbreaks and the frustration of not being able to get it done and being able to do it. It felt good. It felt really good."