Jason Day confirmed his dismissal of long-time caddie Colin Swatton ahead of the BMW Championship, but he will stay on board as a coach.
Many were shocked when Phil Mickelson and Jim “Bones” Mackay split earlier this summer, and Day’s firing of Swatton has proved similarly surprising.
The duo had worked together for 11 years, with Swatton serving as a father figure in the Australian’s life after the former world number one’s dad passed away.
“That was the biggest thing, I’m sitting here and he’s been my caddie for 11 years,” Day said on Wednesday. “He always wanted to work and do whatever he needs. He said, ‘You can yell at me if you want,’ – that’s how good of a guy he is. I said, ‘No, I can’t damage the relationship that we’ve had together.’
“He was a father figure for me ever since I was a kid, and I wanted to make sure that it’s still there. Went a little further and kept on like butting heads out there.
“I’m the one – he’s got zero ego. Unfortunately, sometimes I get in my own way. And, as golfers, it’s a very mentally driven game and sometimes you look for blame elsewhere and obviously I’m not trying to blame him.
“He’s still my coach. It may be somewhere down the road where four months from now – I don’t even know how long it will be – but I can come back to him and say, ‘I made a mistake and I need to come back and have you on the bag.’
“He was one of the hardest working caddies out there that I believed in, was always thorough and on top of everything, every information that he processed across to me as a player. Unfortunately, sometimes the chemistry just doesn’t work.
Day, who is 28th in the FedEx Cup standings with just four top-10 finishes this season, seemingly caught Swatton off-guard when giving him the news of his release.
“He was obviously a little bit shocked and disappointed,” Day said. “Before the event, he sent me through my stats that I needed to look at. We always – we had conversations, my agent, my wife and obviously, him.
“I talked to him for about 25 minutes to an hour last week. Obviously, 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.
“So, you know, it’s always hard because we’ve been a team for so long. We’ve been really tight and being so close for very long and we’re still close. It’s just – he’s coming off the bag and going to more of a coaching role now.”
For now, Day will use a friend this week to replace Swatton with a different acquaintance possibly taking his place at the Presidents Cup.
“Going forward, I’ve got a buddy on the bag. I might have another buddy on the bag at the Presidents Cup and we’ll see how it goes,” Day said.