I first met Colin Swatton four years ago when I was working at Belfair. We would carry on conversations about life on the tour. He was Jason Day’s caddie, and I have followed Day’s career since that first meeting with Colin.
Swatton had always been friendly to me when I attended PGA tournaments. So, I decided to email him after Day won the last Major tournament of the year, the PGA Championship, to ask for an interview. He was very gracious and answered my questions.
Harris: How has your life been since Jason’s win at the PGA tournament?
Swatton: It has been super crazy. I had 250 text messages, and I had 358 miles to travel to the next tournament to work through them. There have also been a lot of media interviews.
Harris: It has been well documented that you have known Jason since he was 12 years old. How did your relationship develop?
Swatton: I met Jason when he attended my golf academy, Koralbyn International School in Australia. We had a common thread in that he wanted to be golf professional, and I was his instructor and coach. He knew that I had the ability to guide him through his journey. I believed in him and in myself that we would have success. Sixteen years later it culminated in the PGA Championship
Harris: What is your background as a golf professional?
Swatton: I turned professional at age 20 and headed up a number of golf academies for over 10 years. Jason attended our academy in Australia. I have been his only golf instructor for the past 16 years.
Harris: When did you become his caddie?
Swatton: When Jason graduated our golf academy at age 18, he decided that he wanted to become a professional tour player. He asked me to help him, so we went to tour school and got through on a conditional status. We spent 12 months on the Nationwide Tour and won a tournament and finished sixth on the tour, which gave us his PGA tour card.
Harris: What is the typical routine for you prior to a tournament week? How do you prepare for Jason before he gets to the tournament?
Swatton: If it is a course that we haven’t played before or a Major tournament, I will arrive three to four days early. I will chart the course and come up with a game plan and strategy for each hole. If we have played the course before, I will do my work on Monday, and Jason will arrive on Tuesday.
Harris: Since Jason lives in Ohio, how did you end up living in the Lowcountry?
Swatton: I met Lisa, my wife, in Orlando at a PGA event. At the time I was living at Bay Hill in Orlando. In 2007 we moved to Hilton Head Island, (because) Lisa’s family had a business here. The Island became hectic to live in, so in 2009 we moved to Belfair, a great gated community in Bluffton.
(Since this interview Jason Day has won two Fed Ex Cup tournaments and a total of five tournaments this year and has risen to No. 1 in the world rankings.)
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris @gmail.com; www.golfdoctorjean.com