Day replaces longtime mentor on bag at BMW
September 13, 2017
By Ben Everill & Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
2017 BMW Championship preview
CHICAGO, Ill. – Rory McIlroy hired his best man for his bag. Jason Day has replaced his.
Day has become the latest high profile player to change up his long-term caddie with news he has stood down mentor and coach Colin Swatton from club carrying duties.
While Swatton will remain Day’s coach, friend Luke Reardon has been given the bag at Conway Farms this week for the BMW Championship where the 2015 champion will attempt to find his first win since the THE PLAYERS Championship 2016.
Day will use Reardon, and another friend and former PGA TOUR player David Lutterus, for the rest of 2017.
His season goes on the line this week as he sits 28th in the FedExCup and must perform to move on to the 30-man TOUR Championship.
Day will then play The Presidents Cup before likely stops in Korea and China in the new 2017-18 season on his way to an Australian Open showdown with Jordan Spieth in November.
It was just two years ago that Swatton and Day ascended to World No.1 status for the first time with Day’s wire-to-wire win in Chicago.
It was the culmination of a long journey which began at a golf academy in Australia when Day was just 12 years old and arrived to be taught by Swatton. Both had lost their fathers to cancer shortly before they met.
Together they have claimed 10 PGA TOUR wins, including the 2015 PGA Championship and THE PLAYERS 2016. They also won the 2013 World Cup.
But a recent slide in form had the relationship facing strain with Day admitting his attitude towards his mentor was becoming near untenable.
As such the 29-year-old refused to let the man who molded him into the star he is fall out of his life completely.
“I never wanted it to turn into a toxic relationship where he's taken me from where I am as a 12-year-old kid to where I am today and I'm not talking to him anymore,” Day explained.
“I was worried if I kept it going it was going to head that way and I love him too much to have him not in my life because of how special he is to me.
“Nothing between what he did on the golf course forced this. He was one of the hardest working caddies out there that I believed in. He was always thorough and on top of everything, every information that he processed across to me as a player.”
What the two achieved together has the makings of a Hollywood script.
Day came from a dirt-poor background having lost a father who physically abused him.
As such Swatton became a father figure to Day, eventually moving to the USA with him to pursue the dreams of professional golf as his coach and caddie.
The pair have been virtually inseparable with Swatton the best man at Day’s wedding to wife Ellie among other major moments in his life.
“Of course I’m disappointed to no longer be on his bag but I am so proud of what we have accomplished together so far,” Swatton said.
“To be able to go on the journey with him from struggling child to the best player in the world is something I’ll always cherish.
“And I look forward to our continued success as player and coach for years to come.”
Day left the door open for the pair to reunite on the course, suggesting a bag share option next season could still yet be a possibility.
Similar to countryman Adam Scott, who juggled Steve Williams and David Clark over the last few seasons, Day might ask Swatton to return for majors and other big events.
“He’s my coach and always will be. I love him so much,” Day continued.
“I wanted to really try and make sure I got out in front of this and hopefully down the line we can hook back up if it doesn't work out because it's one thing you have to always do, either a friendship or relationship, you always have to constantly work at it.”
Reardon has a close connection to both men.
He was also coached by Swatton at the academy in Queensland and was a roommate of Day’s.
It was an early rising Reardon who opened Day’s eyes to the virtues of hard work. Once Day saw his friend getting up early to practice he vowed to get up earlier and work harder, an ethic that took him to the top of the world.
Day is the third big name player to change caddies recently after Phil Mickelson split with Jim Mackay and Rory McIlroy moved on from J.P. Fitzgerald.
He’s had a tough season both on and off the course with his mother battling through a once feared terminal cancer diagnosis.