Makeshift caddie change no problem for Day at East Lake

Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:01pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Six days after Jason Day pulled out of the BMW Championship with a back complaint, his caddie was forced to withdraw from the opening round of the elite Tour Championship on Thursday because of a back issue.

Caddie Col Swatton left the course after seven holes and was replaced by Day's mental coach, Jason Goldsmith, but the switch worked surprisingly well as the Australian went on to card three birdies en route to a three-under-par 67.

That left Day in a four-way tie for third place in the PGA Tour's fourth and final FedExCup playoff event at East Lake Golf Club, just one stroke off the pace.

"It's gotta be frustrating for him because obviously this is a big tournament not only for me but for him as well," world number eight Day told reporters about Swatton's withdrawal.

"And I know how much he loves being out here caddying and trying to get us to win tournaments. Since he first caddied for me, in 2006 I'm thinking, he's never missed a tournament. This was the first one."

Swatton also acts as Day's swing coach and the Australian was a little peeved that his regular caddie initially decided to carry his bag, despite not feeling fully fit overnight.

"I told him: 'Look, if you get out there and you pull out, I'm going to be very pissed, because I said take the day off,'" Day explained. "I said: 'If you just miss today and you feel better tomorrow, then I've got you for the next three days.'

"I don't know what he did to his back last night, but he did something. He had to pull out after seven holes.   Continued...