Mental boost of brain-training games may be just placebo effect

first_img Tags brainmental healthvideo games APStock By Rebecca Robbins June 20, 2016 Reprints Lumosity to settle deceptive ‘brain training’ health claims Related: Industry under fireThe findings may be seen as another blow to a brain-training industry already under fire. The company behind the most high-profile brand of brain-training games, Lumosity, agreed in January to a $2 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for making deceptive claims about the health effects of its games. The money is being doled out as refunds to Lumosity’s customers.“It’s really necessary for researchers to in some way account for this [placebo effect] moving forward because this could contaminate your effects,” said Cyrus Foroughi, a cognitive scientist and the study’s lead author.There are also questions about how long any real cognition benefits might last. And it’s also unclear how much it actually matters: Cognitive improvement on the games is often measured by how well people perform abstract tasks in a university lab, which may not carry over to maintaining complicated skills such as driving a car or remembering a grocery list. The new study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, flipped the script of most brain-training research. The 50 study participants played the same memory-boosting game, but were recruited in two different ways: either from a flyer blaring the buzzwords “brain training and cognitive enhancement” or one that simply invited them to “participate in a study” without any mention of brain training.Recruitment flyers for the two groups of study volunteers. PNASThe former group of 25 people saw a 5-to-10-point IQ boost after playing the game; the latter showed no cognitive improvement. And that arrangement was not just hypothetical: After conducting their study, the George Mason researchers emailed academics who have published research on cognitive training and found that 17 of the 19 studies surveyed had recruited participants in a way that may have biased their outcome.advertisementcenter_img In the LabMental boost of brain-training games may be just placebo effect Related: The marketers of “brain-training” games have long drummed up sales by pointing to data that show that their products make you smarter or ward off cognitive decline.But a cleverly designed new study from researchers at George Mason University offers the best evidence yet that there’s a serious flaw in much of that research. The problem: People may get a mental boost because they expect to do better, not because the games actually work.“This study seems to strongly support our concerns that brain-training effects might be nothing more than placebo effects,” said Walter Boot, a cognitive psychologist at Florida State University who was not involved in the research.advertisement But it’s the placebo effect in particular that scientists have long suspected of clouding much of what they are seeing in the brain-training field.Adam Gazzaley, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, said the findings about the role of the placebo effect “confirm what a lot of us have always assumed.”But Gazzaley, an adviser to a startup that’s trying to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a “prescription” video game based on his prototype, is known for an unusually rigorous approach to game development. And he sees a bright side in the growing evidence that people’s expectations can influence their cognitive performance, so long as researchers measure and account for it in their study design.“We view the fact that people think that they can use a training program to improve themselves as a positive,” he said, “because it increases motivation and depth of engagement in the training.” Inside the push to get doctors to prescribe video games last_img read more

Colorectal cancer screening should start five years earlier — at 45 — expert panel says

first_img Nicholas St. Fleur By Nicholas St. Fleur Oct. 27, 2020 Reprints Tags cancerHealth Disparitiespublic health General Assignment Reporter, Associate Editorial Director of Events Nicholas covers the intersection of race, medicine, and the life sciences. A national panel of medical experts recommended on Tuesday that most Americans start being screened for colorectal cancer five years earlier than called for in current guidelines — at age 45 instead of 50 — to combat increasing rates of the illness in younger people. With 53,200 people expected to die this year, the disease is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the U.S. But with early screening, it is among the most preventable forms of cancer.The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of physicians that provides guidelines on preventive care, noted that it was especially concerned about increasing cases among Black Americans, who are at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer early and dying from it.“Black men and women are disproportionately affected, both in terms of the development of colorectal cancer and unfortunately they have lower survival rates with colorectal cancer,” said John Wong, a physician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and a member of the task force. “That disparity, relative to other racial and ethnic groups, is an important part of our recommendations to lower the screening age at which to start.”advertisement Newsletters Sign up for Cancer Briefing A weekly look at the latest in cancer research, treatment, and patient care. Leave this field empty if you’re human: Because colonoscopies carry a low risk of complications like bleeding and damage to the colon, the task force physicians had to weigh those possible harms against the potential lifesaving benefits of the screening. They estimated that complications would occur in 1 in every 63 to 102 adults screened from ages 45 to 75 years. The recommendation for screening people ages 45 to 49 was given a “B” grade, meaning the task force had “moderate certainty” of a net benefit, while the recommendation for screening for people 50 to 75 remained an “A” grade, meaning the team had “high certainty” the net benefit was substantial.The draft guidelines do not change previous guidance concerning adults aged 76 to 85. People in this age group should continue to consult their physicians on the risks about whether or not they should get screened, they said, and those older than 85 years should discontinue screening. The new recommendations apply to asymptomatic adults and not to people who already have colorectal cancer signs, a family history of colorectal cancer, or abnormal growths known as polyps in their colon.The preventive services task force is not the only medical body that provides guidelines for colon cancer screening. Many recommend screening of most adults from 50 to 75. The U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Screening, which includes medical experts from various gastroenterological societies, recommended in 2017 that Black adults begin screening at 45 years old and that anyone with a family history start screening at 40 years of age or 10 years before the age when their family member was first diagnosed.The new USPSTF screening guidelines do not make any specific recommendations based on race or ethnicity, but do call for additional research into understanding what contributes to the increased colorectal cancer incidence and death rates in Black adults. The average annual death rate from colorectal cancer in the U.S. is 12.2 deaths per 100,000 women, but 16.1 deaths per 100,000 Black women, and 17.3 deaths per 100,000 men, but 24.4 deaths per 100,000 Black men, according to the task force.The guidelines also encourage clinicians to pay particular attention to having conversations about colorectal cancer screening with their Black patients.“I think it’s important to realize that lowering the screening age doesn’t necessarily increase access to screening,” said Adjoa Anyane-Yeboa, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who was not a part of the task force. “But I do think that this is an important step forward and hopefully will help get more people covered and ideally will get more people screened.”Charles Rogers, an assistant professor of public health at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said there is compelling evidence the screening age in the task force’s draft recommendations should be even lower for Black Americans because they are increasingly developing the disease at even younger ages. He pointed to examples like the actor Chadwick Boseman, who was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer at 39 and, in August, died at 43.“I just keep continuing to see the issue getting worse and worse,” Rogers said. “Yeah, this is great that we’re going to 45. But what are we going to do for those that are much younger?” Colon cancer cells in a lab dish. Lorna McInroy/Wellcome Related: [email protected] The draft recommendation broadens the group of adults in the U.S. who should receive colorectal screening. Once it is finalized, after a public comment period of four weeks, it will replace the task force’s 2016 guidelines that state adults without risk factors for colorectal cancer should begin screening at age 50 and continue periodically until 75. The task force based the draft recommendations on a review of new peer-reviewed research, including an analysis of the benefits and potential harms of screening. Privacy Policy @SciFleur HealthColorectal cancer screening should start five years earlier — at 45 — expert panel says About the Author Reprints Did disparities kill the king of Wakanda? Chadwick Boseman and changing landscape of colon cancer demographics Please enter a valid email address. About 18,000 people under age 50 will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the U.S. this year — 12% of total cases — and more than 3,600 are projected to die, the American Cancer Society estimates. The research the task force examined showed that adults who were 45 in 2016 had a similar incidence of colorectal cancer as people who were 50 in 1992, during a time before colorectal cancer screening was widely used. The reasons for the rise are uncertain.Under the Affordable Care Act, the task force’s recommendations are used to determine preventive services that insurers must cover at no cost to patients. If the draft recommendation stays as is following the final deliberations, then colorectal screening for people between the ages of 45 and 49 would be covered, said Wong. He noted the task force’s judgements were based on an examination of the clinical science and were not made with consideration to insurance coverage or cost to patients.Gastroenterologists not involved with the task force welcomed the new recommendations, but noted they will present some challenges.“What this equates to is about an additional 21 million Americans that will need to be screened,” said Fola May, a gastroenterologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. From a public health standpoint, she said she worries about how to get all of these additional Americans screened. “Colon cancer screening was just one of the measures we as a nation were always poor at and we were especially bad with ethnic and racial minorities, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans.”While 69% of white adults in the 50-to-75 age group were up to date on colorectal cancer screenings in 2018, according to the American Cancer Society, the rate fell to 66% for Black adults and between 56% and 59% for Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asian adults.The two screening measures the task force recommends include “direct visualization tests,” like colonoscopies, and stool-based tests that analyze a person’s stool for blood or signs of cancer. The task force noted that after getting screened at 45, a person would have to receive a colonoscopy every 10 years or a stool-based test every one to three years, depending on the test.“I hope that people will embrace that we should use even the non-invasive methods, like the stool tests,” said May, “and not for everyone to get a colonoscopy because I think that would be virtually impossible.” “We’re seeing just as much colon cancer newly developing in the 45-to-49-year-olds as we used to see in 50-to-54-year-olds,” Wong said. “The evidence suggests that screening is both effective and saves lives.”advertisementlast_img read more

Please Just Stop Clapping!

first_img News Please Just Stop Clapping! News AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Facebook Twitter News center_img News SHARE There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest [imText1] By Daily NK – 2012.02.16 4:55pm North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with Chinalast_img read more

Could a second wave mean a second shutdown?

first_img Keywords Economic forecasts,  Economic indicators,  CoronavirusCompanies RBC Financial Group, National Bank Financial Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Yet, a continued recovery assumes that any future wave of the pandemic requires “a lighter containment touch” than was necessary to flatten the first wave, said RBC Economics in a provincial outlook report on Thursday.As it stands, the economy could require years to recover lost ground, said the report, which offered detailed forecasts by province.The good news is that a second shutdown may not be likely, given data on the recent death rate from the virus.In a report on Wednesday, National Bank Financial, Inc. assessed the number of Covid-19 cases versus deaths in North America and Europe. That analysis showed that a recent increase in cases hasn’t resulted in a surge in deaths compared to March and April.While the increase in cases may partly be explained by improved testing, changing demographics may also be a factor in explaining the lower death rate, the National Bank report said.For example, the virus is spreading more among younger people, who tend to have less severe symptoms, while seniors and others at risk are taking greater precautions.“For these reasons, we remain confident that a second generalized economic lockdown is unlikely,” National Bank said.The bank’s base-case scenario is that strategies to address a second wave of Covid-19 would likely focus on limiting victims without crimping the economy.Economic recovery depends on work trendsEven without a second shutdown, economies aren’t expected to return to pre-Covid-19 levels of output this year.The GDP gap between Q4 of 2020 and Q4 of 2019 could be 4% to 6% for Canada, as well as for the U.S. and U.K., RBC Economics said in a macroeconomic outlook report on Thursday.Whether a full economic recovery can happen next year depends on a vaccine, as well as on people being able to return to work.“As government support programs gradually unwind, it will fall to improving labour market conditions to drive consumption,” the report said.RBC’s base-case scenario was that another lockdown would be avoided, allowing the labour market to recover.In Canada, almost two-thirds of workers who lost jobs were back at work last month, though many had reduced hours, RBC said.As a result of the recovering labour market and continued government support, Canadian consumer spending in some areas has exceeded pre-pandemic levels.For example, housing sales soared to an all-time high in July, manufacturing sales revved up and trade activity rebounded, RBC said.That activity motivated RBC to revise its fourth-quarter GDP projection from June. It now projects Canadian GDP of 6% in Q4 of 2020, up from 5%.Next year’s GDP projections from RBC ranged from 4% in the first half of the year to 5% in the second half.Still, the bank warned of a recovery divergence depending on sector.“Ongoing weakness in the services industries will weigh on the economy and delay the return to full capacity,” the report said.For full details, read RBC Economics’ provincial outlook, RBC Economics’ macroeconomic outlook with financial market forecast tables, and National Bank Financial, Inc.’s report. Household debt-to-income ratio fell in first quarter: Statscan Stagflation is U.S. economists’ biggest fear, SIFMA says Michelle Schriver Illustration and Painting iStock Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Ontario unlikely to balance budget by 2030: FAO Related news No one wants to see a repeat of the second quarter’s Covid-19-driven economic shutdown. However, with the economy reopening and no vaccine yet available, the possibility can’t be ignored.Canada’s GDP dropped 38.7% year over year in Q2 but has since rebounded strongly. The economy grew by 4.8% in May and 6.5% in June, with preliminary estimates for July also looking strong. last_img read more

New Shaped Dollar and Ten Dollar Coins on September 8

first_imgAdvertisements New Shaped Dollar and Ten Dollar Coins on September 8 Finance & Public ServiceAugust 22, 2009 FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail The Bank of Jamaica has advised that new-shaped one and ten dollar coins will go into general circulation as of September 8.The current seven-sided design (heptagonal) of the one dollar will be replaced by a round coin, with the heptagonal shape within the circle. The coin will continue to bear the portrait of National Hero, The Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante. All other technical specifications will remain unchanged.The current scalloped-shaped design of the ten dollar will be replaced by a round coin, with the scalloped shape within the circle. The coin will continue to bear the portrait of National Hero, The Right Excellent George William Gordon. All other technical specifications remain unchanged.Coins bearing the old designs remain legal tender and will continue to circulate alongside the new-shaped coins until the stock of the old shaped coins is exhausted. RelatedNew Shaped Dollar and Ten Dollar Coins on September 8center_img RelatedNew Shaped Dollar and Ten Dollar Coins on September 8 RelatedNew Shaped Dollar and Ten Dollar Coins on September 8last_img read more

2021-2022 Draft Budget out for public comment

first_img2021-2022 Draft Budget out for public comment Council is inviting residents to have their say on the $53 million 2021-2022 Draft Budget.This is the first budget of the current Council, which was elected last October.It was developed to ensure the financial position remains sustainable while supporting the community through a range of initiatives and projects.The record $21 million capital works program includes $6.9 million for local roads,and $5.3 million for the Port Campbell Town Centre upgrade, to be matched with State and Federal Government funding.Footpaths will receive $125,000, $110,000 will go to new playgrounds and skate parks and there will be $105,000 for apprentices/trainees.The Budget will deliver a $6.4 million operating surplus and will see Council remain debt free for a fourth year.The proposed Budget includes a rate increase of 1.5%. This is in line with the State Government’s rate capping framework which has capped rate increases in Victorian councils.The waste management charge will decrease by 0.78%, reflecting an offset of savings achieved in waste collection from the previous year.Mayor Ruth Gstrein said Council remained committed to maintaining local roads and advocating to the State and Federal Governments for further improvements to the arterial road network.“This draft Budget allocates $6.9 million to road rehabilitation, roads to recovery projects, resheeting and resealing,” she said.“Some of the major road projects include widening and rehabilitation of Linton Road ($675,000), Carpendeit-Bungador Road ($365,000) and Depot Road at Camperdown ($340,000) and rehabilitation of East Hill Road ($375,000), Williams Road ($250,000), Blind Creek Road ($214,000), Kilnoorat Road ($213,000), and Stewarts Road ($130,000).“In another major improvement, there will be upgrades and sealing on Parkers Access Road and Moonlight Head Road ($250,000).”Grants programs continue to be supported with $80,000 each for Facility Grants and Events & Festivals Grants, $60,000 for Business Incentive Grants, $50,000 for Community Grants, Retail Area Façade Improvement Grants and Environment Support Grants, $30,000 for Community Planning township allocations and $17,500 for Quick Response Grants.Cr Gstrein said the Budget had a range of town planning initiatives aimed at supporting residential and business growth.“These will leverage the opportunities that have arisen over the past 12 months, particularly the exodus of people from the city and suburbs to rural and regional areas,” she said.“The initiatives will create more residential allotments to meet growing demand.”Council will continue to provide a range of services to its community, such as aged and disability, and early years including Family Day Care, immunisation, kindergartens—including an expanded three-year-old kinder program, Maternal and Child Health, Mobile Child Care, libraries and pools.Cr Gstrein encouraged residents to get a copy of the draft budget and have their say. It can be downloaded here /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Camperdown, community, Corangamite, Corangamite Shire Council, environment, Federal, federal government, Government, grants program, health, Immunisation, Linton, local council, Moonlight Head, planning, Port Campbell, Retail, sustainable, Victoria, Williamslast_img read more

Death is Different: Sister Helen Prejean speaks at CU Law

first_img Published: Sept. 17, 2019 Join Colorado Law for an evening with Sister Helen Prejean, a lifelong abolitionist, author, and nun who will speak about the death penalty in America, the impact on victims of violent crime, and what we can do to change the conversation about justice.The event will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. in the Wittemyer Courtroom at the Wolf Law Building.Sister Prejean is the author of “Dead Man Walking,” which was made into a movie directed by Tim Robbins and starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. She has written extensively about the death penalty and the justice system. In her most recent book, “River of Fire,” she tells the story of her life becoming a nun and her journey both politically and spiritually since that time.Sister Prejean holds an honorary degree from CU Boulder and is in Colorado to accept an award from the ACLU.The event is free, but donations will be collected for the Korey Wise Innocence Project at Colorado Law. A reception and book signing will follow the event.Categories:Lectures & PresentationsEvents & Exhibits Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-maillast_img read more

WIN Insiders with WineAmerica’s Michael Kaiser

first_imgLinkedin ReddIt Home Video WIN Insiders with WineAmerica’s Michael KaiserVideoWine Business EditorialWIN Insiders with WineAmerica’s Michael KaiserBy Editor – August 7, 2020 208 0 Share TAGSfeaturedMichael KaiserWIN Insider SeriesWineAmerica Facebook Email Twitter Pinterest AdvertisementIn this interview (video above), we talk with Michael Kaiser, Vice President of Government Affairs / WineAmerica, a grassroots advocacy organization for the American Wine Industry and the only national wine industry trade association based out of DC. In this WIN Insider’s interview, Michael shares how WineAmerica’s focus has expanded to work on relief packages for wineries and the status of those new packages plus the potential for a second round of PPP loans. In addition, an update on the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform act, which lowers excise taxes for all producers.  Michael also addresses how some wine regions have started to rebound and what the industry can expect for the remainder of the year. Advertisement Previous articleSangiacomo Chardonnay Wins 2020 North Coast Wine ChallengeNext articleCalifornia’s Leading Craft Malt Producer Admiral Maltings Trailblazes California-Style Single Malt Whiskeys & Craft Beers with Distinctive Terroir in Premium Malted Barley Editorlast_img read more

Virgin, Qualcomm fund new OneWeb satellite-based network

first_img Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter… More Read more Español OneWebQualcommsatellitesTechnologyVirgin Group Home Virgin, Qualcomm fund new OneWeb satellite-based network Author AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 16 JAN 2015 Related Virgin Group and Qualcomm are leading investment in a company aiming to build a network of satellites to extend mobile coverage around the world.A post by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson explained that the goal of OneWeb is to connect billions of people who don’t currently have access to the internet.OneWeb terminals will act as small cells which can provide access to the surrounding area using WiFi, LTE, 3G or 2G, using operator partners’ licensed spectrum, or WiFi and LTE on unlicensed spectrum. The company has also been allotted radio spectrum to provide the internet services.Some of the satellites will be launched by Virgin Galactic, the group’s division that plans to offer commercial sub-orbital flights but which is also developing a delivery service for satellites called LauncherOne.Branson said the satellite order will be the biggest ever. Reuters reported that a network of 648 satellites is planned. The Virgin chief added that by the time the company completes the second ‘constellation’, it will have launched “more satellites than are currently in the sky”.Reuters said the satellite network will cost between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. They will be positioned to orbit the earth at an altitude of around 750 miles.The satellites should enable mobile operators to extend coverage to rural and remote areas. Partnering with OneWeb should also help provide internet access.“With the spectrum and technology, coupled with strong partners, we look forward to advancing global connectivity,” said OneWeb founder and CEO Greg Wyler.“We have a shared vision to bring connectivity to underserved areas around the world,” said Qualcomm executive chairman Paul Jacobs, adding that the company is looking to fund “initial technical feasibility work”.No details about the level of investment made by Virgin or Qualcomm were disclosed.There have been similar projects in the past, which have proved to be complicated and expensive, leading to their commercial failure. These include Globalstar, Iridium, Teledesic, Skybridge.Internet giants Google and Facebook are also looking at ways to improve internet coverage globally.Both have invested in drone technology, while Google’s Project Loon is looking at using helium-fuelled balloons located in the earth’s atmosphere that can provide internet signals.Facebook’s team is also looking to make use of free-space optical communication (FSO) technology, which can transmit data in space using infrared laser beams.center_img Tim Ferguson Previous ArticlePortugal Telecom SGPS paints negative picture for ‘no’ voteNext ArticleTelekom Slovenije to be privatised next month Blog: How is chip shortage affecting US? Mobile Mix: AI, Android and open RAN Tags Las operadoras respaldan el papel de Qualcomm en la RAN abiertalast_img read more

Day dream: Jason breaks through

first_imgSHEBOYGAN, Wis. – The prognosticators figured it would be a Tiger-esque performance – and it was, only not by the player everyone thought would deliver. Jason Day came full circle on Sunday after having started what some were beginning to see as a misguided major quest at Whistling Straits when he tied for 10th at the 2010 PGA. Five years after that first brush with Grand Slam greatness the affable Australian laid a Heisman on the field with a near-flawless round and then both hands on the Wanamaker Trophy, the 27-pound chalice that had started to feel like the weight of the world on Day’s broad shoulders. Unlike so many times in his career, there were no missed putts at crucial moments like at the Open Championship, no debilitating bouts with vertigo like at the U.S. Open and, most importantly, no heartbreak. This time the five-time Tour winner – who as a gangly 12-year-old showed up at the Kooralbyn International School in Australia with a decent but not spectacular game and a 460cc-sized chip on his shoulder – didn’t allow fate to intervene on another’s behalf. Day forged his way into the lead heading into Sunday at a major for the third time this season with a third-round 66. He defied the unseen forces and internal demons that had made him a perennial bridesmaid at the biggest events through utter force of will. He birdied the first, fifth, sixth and seventh holes in what quickly became a dart-throwing contest to maintain his two-stroke lead and never allowed anyone, not even Jordan Spieth, to get any closer on his way to a closing 67. “It was probably the hardest round of golf I’ve ever played,” said Day, who came up five strokes shy to Spieth at the U.S. Open and one shot out the playoff at last month’s Open Championship. “I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t know how tough.” PGA Championship: Full-field scores The PGA has historically been the more user friendly of the four major championships in terms of scoring, but as a warm morning turned to a scorching afternoon the year’s final Grand Slam gathering descended into a skins game with players trading birdies and boring down on historical scoring records with each swing. For the record, Day’s 20 under total is a new major championship mark for relation to par. Not bad considering they’ve been playing these things for 155 years. Spieth, who found himself in a familiar spot late on a major championship Sunday, finished the year 54 under par in four Grand Slam starts. That’s four strokes better than the previous mark set by Tiger Woods in 2000. While red figures may not be everyone’s brand of vodka when it comes to major championships, the scoring frenzy did entertain. In order, Branden Grace, Justin Rose and ultimately Spieth all made spirited runs at Day, but the kid from Kooralbyn – a sports specific school on the outskirts of Australia’s Gold Coast where the notion of golf greatness first took root – answered every challenge. Grace rolled in birdie putts from Manitowoc to Mequon – the Cheeseheads in the crowd know what that’s about – to move to within two shots before the turn, but was ultimately undone by a double bogey-6 at the 10th hole. Rose also cut Day’s advantage to three shots with a birdie at the 11th, but a hole later faded with a double bogey at the 13th. And finally Spieth, of course it would be Spieth, cut the deficit to three shots with a 15 footer for birdie at the 13th hole, but Day continued the volley with a birdie at the 14th hole. The only moment that passed as even remotely tense came on the 15th hole when Day teed off with a four-stroke lead with four to play but made bogey, and briefly conjured up memories of another Australian (Adam Scott) who had a commanding four-shot lead but collapsed at the 2012 Open Championship. Day would have none of it. In the ultimate show of respect, Spieth shot Day a thumbs up sign after he lagged a lengthy birdie putt to within inches at the 17th hole for what felt like a walk-off par. From there Day took the walk up the 18th hole with a three-shot cushion that not even Dustin Johnson and one of Whistling Straits’ ubiquitous bunkers/sand boxes could mishandle. “We play a lot of golf and we’ve played a lot of major championship rounds together and that was the best I’ve ever seen him play,” said Spieth, who at least enjoyed the consolation of overtaking Rory McIlroy atop the World Golf Ranking with his runner-up finish at Whistling Straits. “He’s impressive to watch strike the ball, but it was nothing like today. He took it back and he wailed on it and it was a stripe show. It was really a clinic to watch.” Spieth, who could have joined Woods and Ben Hogan as the only men to win three majors in one year in the Masters era, instead closed with a 68 to put the finishing touches on the best major championship season since Woods collect three in 2000. His bid to hit for the Grand Slam cycle came up two swings short, the first from the Valley of Sin at the Open Championship and then along the shores of Lake Michigan when he tugged his second shot into a bunker left of the 16th green. He ended up making birdie on the hole, but he needed something truly heroic. Spieth’s perceived lack of driving distance has always been a question mark, or maybe it’s an easy out for those who struggle to pinpoint his brilliance, but those who have played and lost to the twenty-something contend he’s long enough at 76th on Tour just after Retief Goosen and just before Jim Herman. Yet while that game plays well if you are putting like Spieth at, say any of this year’s other majors, on Sunday it proved to be too much of a handicap against Day. For the week, Day averaged 305 yards off the tee and was third in the field in driving distance. In practical terms, he was able to dismantle the par 5s (playing them in 15 under) thanks to drives like his 382-yard effort on No. 11. “[Spieth] said to me in scoring, ‘Man, there was nothing I could do,’” Day said. For so long it felt like there was nothing Day could do to shed his major monkey, but that all started to change when he rebounded from his St. Andrews swoon with a clutch performance at the RBC Canadian Open and arrived at Whistling Straits with a different, even demur, outlook. “I sensed this week he was more relaxed and calm,” said Colin Swatton, Day’s swing coach and caddie who began working with him when he arrived at Kooralbyn. “At a major sometimes you can get consumed by everything that’s going on, but this week he didn’t allow that to happen.” Day had found so many ways to lose majors, from V (vertigo at the U.S. Open) to Z (Zach Johnson at the Open Championship), one would have thought he’d simply run out of roadblocks. But this time neither vertigo nor unseen vulnerabilities would deny him. Twenty years after Steve Elkington became the last Australian to win the PGA Championship Day hoisted the same trophy, but his achievement went well beyond the numbers on a scorecard or a chapter in the history books. Your scribe first met Day in 2007 at a Tour event in Australia, and the then-19 year old didn’t flinch when asked what he wanted to accomplish in golf. “I want to be No. 1 in world,” he said without a trace of false modesty. His victory at Whistling Straits moved Day to No. 3 in the World Golf Ranking, but for the first time since he formulated that dream as a 12 year old it seems a lot closer.last_img read more