Jason Day Wins the US PGA Championship

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Colin Swatton is much more than just a caddie to the Australian star who broke his major duck with victory at the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on Sunday.

To have risen from such a unlucky position to the top of the golfing world, reflects the journey Day has taken in life with Swatton as mentor, coach and caddie.

It is little wonder that Day tearfully embraced Swatton immediately after tapping in the putt that gave him a three-shot victory over new world number one Jordan Spieth.

“On the 18th all I said was ‘I love you’,” Swatton said. “And he loves me, and we were a blubbering mess. It was pretty cool.

“This makes me incredibly proud. To stand on the 18th green and share that moment.

“I knew with the work ethic and the drive and the motivation, the skills would develop over time. He will continue to grow and to get better.”

It was Swatton who played the father figure after Day’s father died from cancer. The young Queenslander was in serious danger of going off the rails and the then teacher was his saviour.

“He’s been there for me since I was 12 and a half years old,” Day said. “He’s taken me from a kid that was getting into fights at home and getting drunk at 12 and not heading in the right direction to a major champion.

“And there’s not many coaches that can say that in many sports. So he means the world to me. I love him to death.”

Golf’s newest major champion only started playing the game when his late father rescued an old three wood from a rubbish site.

It only became Day’s salvation because it brought him into contact with Swatton, who imposed a disciplined coaching regime.

“This makes me incredibly proud. To stand on the 18th green and share that moment.

He squeezed shut his eyes in anguish. It was another near miss in a major and a sixth top-four finish in one of the big four tournaments in a still early career.

Even though he was only 27 years old, observers were starting to wonder whether he had what it took to land one of the game’s biggest prizes.

And the way he compiled a brilliant front-running 67 to hold Spieth at bay in the final round at Whistling Straits spoke volumes for how he has graduated to the upper reaches of the game.

Spieth is at the vanguard having taken over from Rory McIlroy at the top of the rankings but Day may prove capable of joining the budding rivalry that will propel a new era for the game.

Day has shown talent to suggest he can sit alongside Spieth and McIlroy, who respectively spearhead American and European golf. Day offers an Australian dimension which offers exciting potential for the global game.

As Swatton observed: “We are approaching another big three in golf.”

There’s a long way to go before Spieth, McIlroy and Day can be regarded in the same was as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, who comprised the original big three. But maybe, somewhere in the future, that moment will come.

Swatton is well worth listening to – just ask Jason Day.

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