Former world number one Jason Day has become the latest leading golfer to split with his long-term caddie after he announced Col Swatton would no longer be his bag man.
Day broke the news on the eve of the PGA TOUR’s BMW Championship with his decision to dispense with Swatton’s services as a caddie coming after the equally surprising splits between Phil Mickelson and caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay and Rory McIlroy and bag man JP Fitzgerald.
Day’s decision comes near the end of the 2017—one which has not seen the Australian perform at his best. Four top 10 results have been Day’s best results and they have failed to keep him at the top of the world rankings, dropping to the ninth spot.
A hard decision
It was a sit-down talk with Swatton, Day’s long-term coach and mentor, that brought the player-caddie relationship to an end after more than 11 years together. The Australian reportedly believes he needs a fresh start for the final two events of the PGA TOUR season.
“It’s always hard because we’ve been a team for so long,” Day said ahead of the BMW Championship. “We’ve been really tight and being so close for very long and we’re still close.
“He needed some time just going over things and really understand my feelings and what I wanted to try to accomplish in my career as a player, and then obviously trying to get his feelings as well.
“Everything is great when you win, but when you’re playing poorly, that’s when a true test of a relationship actually happens between a player and a caddie. It’s more my fault, really, because he’s out there trying to do the best job he can and, unfortunately, sometimes it just doesn’t work out no matter how hard he works. The positive vibes and the positives he’s trying to put out and all the numbers that he can get and information he can get sometimes just doesn’t work out.”
The pair, who enjoyed major success together when Day won the PGA Championship in 2015, will remain friends and keep a working relationship—Swatton still holds the role of swing coach.
“He’s always going to be my coach, always will, unless he gets paid more somewhere else,” Day added. “I’m planning on trying to keep him around. I don’t want anyone else to get coached by him because he’s a really good coach.”
A new caddie
Replacing Swatton on the bag for the immediate future will be Luke Reardon, a close friend of Day’s. The pair grew up together and were roommates at college. However, Day is not ruling out bringing Swatton back as a caddie at some stage further down the line.
“Obviously, when you let go of someone sometimes it’s hard, but there’s been a lot going this year,” added Day, whose mother has been battling terminal lung cancer.
“I’m excited about the future with regards to I can go out there and take ownership of my golf shots. I have no one to blame other than myself.
“I had to make a decision somehow to hopefully help me in the short-term to ultimately help me in the long-term.”