PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — After a ragged final round in winning the Wells Fargo Championship, Jason Day brought in longtime caddie and still-swing coach Colin Swatton to fine-tune things.
Swatton, who was replaced on Day’s bag in September, 2017, is helping Day find his driver swing again.
“I usually don’t bring Col into tournaments only because I typically like to work with him before events,” said Day, the 2016 Players champion. “But I’ve had a three-week stretch here, and I can kind of feel the swing’s getting a little bit loose. So we just tried to even out the path a little bit, kind of trying to get it back to zero and trying to get the ball starting straighter, because I typically like hitting it dead straight. I’d like to say I hit it dead straight all the time, but I don’t.”
Day’s struggles — if you feel winning a second Tour event in seven 2018 starts amounts to any kind of issue — started with the right-hander’s curse: left-to-right driving range winds.
“At the start of the week I was swinging it pretty neutral for the most part and hitting it very straight,” Day said. “And by the end of the week I started kind of aiming further and further right and hitting bigger and bigger draws. That kind of fed into my iron play, which fed into my driving, and then that’s why I was missing it quite large.
“So I was just — I was standing there and I’m on some holes I’m hitting these big old draws and I’m like, OK, what do I do to correct it, OK, I need to just come on the back of the ball a little bit and kind of hold the face open and it would go way right. So I was stuck between two swings, and when that happens and you start losing a little bit of confidence.”
Day gave forthright thoughts on his preference to hit straight shots, a far cry from an old-school player such as Rory Sabbatini.
“This is a guy that played well before me, and you had to learn to be able to sweep the ball from right to left, left to right, different heights, trajectories, and I think the kids these days with the technology that we have in place, all you do is just hit it long and straight now, and high. So instead of having to curve it into a tucked pin location, you can just hit it higher and go straight at it and land it softer instead of having to maneuver it into the pin.”
Day returns to a course where he was the first player to average more than 300 yards in winning the Players and feels as comfortable as one can on a Pete Dye design. Yet he feels no distinct advantage.
“Really tough golf course, and you have the winds and everything that goes along with it,” Day said. “It doesn’t suit anyone; you know what I mean? Like it doesn’t suit a long guy, doesn’t suit a short guy. That’s why there’s been a splattering of guys that have won here that have different strengths in their game, which is great.”
Day tees off Thursday at 1:41 pm ET with fellow former Players champions Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia.