Before heading out for a practice session with Jason Day at Augusta National last April, Day’s caddie, Colin Swatton, talked at length about his relationship with the 2016 Players champion.
It began when Day was a wild, nearly out-of-control 12-year-old, sent by his mother to the Australian golf academy that Swatton ran to get some direction in his life. Swatton became Day’s teacher, mentor, father figure and friend, and when Day turned professional, Swatton added caddie to the resume.
But he told the Times-Union if there ever came a time when he had to choose between being Day’s teacher or caddie, he’d give up carrying the bag in a heartbeat.
That decision has been made, at least for the rest of the season. Day announced this week that Swatton has been relieved of his looping duties in favor of Day’s friend, Luke Reardon, but will remain as his coach.
Presumably, Swatton will always remain Day’s friend.
Ben Everill of pgatour.com reported that the change begins at this week’s BMW Championship, the third leg of the FedEx Playoffs. Day, 28th on the points list, needs to finish among the top-30 after this week to make the Tour Championship in Atlanta last week. Day will then play in the Presidents Cup and has scheduled events later this fall and winter in Korea, China and Australia.
Ironically, it was two years ago that Day won the BMW and reached No. 1 on the world golf rankings for the first time. Day and Swatton have won 10 PGA Tour titles together, highlighted by the 2015 PGA and Day’s wire-to-wire victory at the 2016 Players.
Reardon was a fellow student of Day’s under Swatton at the golf academy in Queensland.
Bob Parsons, founder of PXG, said on a Twitter post that he is suing Taylor Made in Federal court over patent infringement related to Taylor Made’s new line of irons, the P790s.
Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy.com, made a leap into the golf equipment industry last year when he lured high-profile player such as two-time major champion Zach Johnson and 2014 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel of Ponte Vedra Beach.
“Taylormade Golf’s new P790 irons infringe upon many PXG patents. Sued them in Federal court today!” Parsons said on Twitter.
The new Taylor Made irons retails for $1,299 per set. Parsons started PXG in 2014 and his clubs also have high price points.
According to a published report, the issue stems from “Speedfoam” injection in the Taylor Made irons that the company said is proprietary. PXG has a substance called “thermoplastic elastomer” in its irons.
Bae is back
Past PGA Tour winner Sangmoon Bae has put his rifle away and replaced it with his golf clubs to play in his professional tournament in more than two years.
Bae, whose last pro tournament was at the 2015 Presidents Cup in his native South Korea, will begin play Thursday in the Donghae Open. He was discharged from compulsory military service in August.
A three-time Asian Tour winner, Bae spent almost two years as a rifleman in the South Korean army. His tour of duty was mandatory by South Korean law for all able-bodied men.
Bae, who won the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship in 2013 and the Frys.com Open in 2014, says he’s driving the ball further because of his weight and physical training in the army.
Bae says: “I remembered vividly my first time hitting the golf ball again after about five or six months in the army … every minute was so precious and I really treasured each time when I was out on the golf course or at the driving range. I’m very happy to be back.”
The youth movement on the PGA Tour can be illustrated in the demographics of the most recent winners of FedEx Cup playoff events.
Since the 2014 Dell Technologies Championship at the TPC Boston, 11 of the last 13 playoff winners have been under 30. In addition, the last three FedEx Cup champions, Horschel, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, are in their 20s.
Event: BMW Championship, Thursday-Sunday, Conway Farms, Lake Forest, Ill.
At stake: $8.75 million purse ($1,575,000 and 2,000 FedEx Cup points to the winner).
Defending champion: Dustin Johnson.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 3-7 p.m.; Saturday, 1-3 p.m.; Sunday, 12-2 p.m.); NBC (Saturday, 3- 6 p.m.; Sunday, 2-6 p.m.).
Area players entered (FedEx Cup rank): Brian Harman (15), Matt Kuchar (18), Hudson Swafford (33), Billy Horschel (38), Zach Johnson (54), Bud Cauley 68).
Notable: The top-30 players on the FedEx Cup points list will advance to the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta next week. … Jordan Spieth leads Justin Thomas by 27 points at No. 1.
Event: Evian Championship, Thursday-Sunday, Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-les-Bains, France.
At stake: $3.65 millon purse ($487,500 to the winner).
Defending champion: In Gee Chun.
TV: Golf Channel (Thusday-Friday, 5-8 a.m.; Saturday, 9:30- a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Sunday, 6:30-11:30 a.m.).
Area players entered: Marina Alex, Katie Burnett, Chell Choi, Amelia Lewis.
Notable: Chun shot 63 in the first round and went on to defeated So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyung Park by four shots.
PGA Tour Champions
Event: Pacific Lakes Bear Mountain Championship, Friday-Sunday, Bear Mountain Resort, British Columbia.
At stake: $1.8 million purse ($270,000 to the winner).
Defending champion: Colin Montgomerie.
Area players entered: David Eger, Fred Funk, Blaine McCallister.
Notable: Montgomerie birdied the third playoff hole with a 15-foot putt to beat Scott McCarron.
Event: Albertson’s Boise Open, Thursday-Sunday, Hillcrest Country Club, Boise, Idaho.
At stake: $1 million purse ($180,000 to the winner).
Defending champion: Michael Thompson.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 12:30-2:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 5-8 p.m.).
Area players entered (Web.con Finals rank): Robert Diaz (25), Chris Baker (33), Luke Guthrie (49), Jonathan Byrd (54), Ben Kohles (67), Vince Covello (68), Sam Saunders (77), Rick Lamb (88), Steve Wheatcroft (106).
Notable: Thompson won when the tournament was during the regular season. It’s now the second leg of the Web.com Finals, which end Sept. 28-Oct. 1 with the Web.com Tour Championship at the Atlantic Beach Country Club.