Sport Off the Ball

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Day's attentive gesture speaks volumes about PGA champion

Joe Molloy

Published 19/08/2015 | 02:30

An emotional Jason Day celebrates with his caddie and mentor Colin Swatton after winning the US PGA Championship on Sunday
An emotional Jason Day celebrates with his caddie and mentor Colin Swatton after winning the US PGA Championship on Sunday

In what's been a stellar season, the fourth Major of the year went to the guy who has been very close for a long time.

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I think most people are increasingly aware of Jason Day's unorthodox route to the pristine world of country clubs and seven-figure pay days. His father died of cancer when Day was 12 years old and what followed was a rocky fallout, which featured alcohol, fights and just the wrong crowd generally.

His mother, the hero of the story, realised an intervention of sorts was necessary. She took up a second job to fund Day's tuition fees at a boarding school, where he had the good fortune to encounter Colin Swatton. After a sparky enough start to their relationship, Swatton became Day's golf coach and Day became good at golf.

Wonderfully, Swatton is still Day's coach and caddie. Their walk together up the 18th at Whistling Straits was a special one.

We had the great Lawrence Donegan on Monday night's show, who gave us a fantastic insight into Day. Donegan told us about a golf journalist on the PGA tour who doesn't have a huge amount of money.

Day started to notice a pattern I dare say most of us wouldn't. He noticed that this guy was wearing the same shirt every Wednesday and he also had a shirt for Thursday and a shirt for Friday and for everyday of the week.

It was like clockwork. So he asked the guy how many shirts he owed. "Seven," was the reply. Day told the journalist to meet him the following week.

A week later Day arrived with 40 pristine golf shirts for the journalist. He had recently changed sponsor and suddenly his 40 shirts were of no real use to him, so he handed them over.

It is one of the classiest moves I've heard of. It's not about the monetary value of the shirts obviously. It's the noticing. How many of us would notice? I don't think I would. I'm too self-involved. It's even less likely that millionaire golfers would. Jason Day did. It speaks volumes.

Irish Independent

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