Jason Day believes Col Swatton’s on-course role in his success is under-appreciated.
All Australian golf fans know how Swatton became Day’s father figure and mentor since the troubled youngster lost his father to cancer at 12.
Now Day wants people to know just what a golf brain his coach-caddie Swatton has, and how he’s toiled around the clock to help the 27-year-old become a major champion and consistent contender in majors.
“Not a lot of people out there understand what a good caddie really does and how hard a good caddie works,” Day said in a teleconference on Wednesday in the wake of his US PGA Championship triumph.
Although Day ultimately fell one shot short of a playoff at last month’s British Open at St Andrews, it wasn’t for a lack of meticulous planning from player and coach.
Day prepared all week to shoot 16-under-par, a number he believed would land him the Claret Jug at the home of golf.
He was right.
Alas, Day finished 14-under for the championship.
He cruelly dropped two shots during the farcical 32 minutes before play was halted on the windswept Saturday, a blow that ultimately proved decisive down the stretch.
But Day looks back knowing that he and Swatton did everything in their power to bring the Claret Jug back to Australia – just as Swatton always has.
“Going back as far as The Open Championship, Col was out there every day before every round,” Day said.
“The good caddies are out there early looking at the pins, looking where to hit it and where the bad places were – and that was Col.
“To be able to have a caddie who works as hard as him and understand what’s going on, it’s like the sniper and spotter. Col’s the spotter and I’m the sniper.
“He gathers all the information to make sure that that one single shot that I have is the shot that I need to take at the right time.”
Day admits he wasn’t always so receptive, saying he didn’t like to listen in his wild youth.
But now he’s all ears whenever Swatton speaks, particularly on the back nine on Sunday at a major.
That’s half the reason he broke down in tears even before holing out for a record-breaking win at Whistling Straits.
“It was an emotional one for me and him because I knew he’s always wanted to be on the bag for my first major, and I don’t see him coming off the bag for a long time, as long as he stays healthy,” Day said.
“He has been a big inspiration in my life. I can honestly say that I would never be where I am today without the help of him, and my team too, becuase early on he shaped and moulded my life into really the person and the character that I am today.”