‘This one’s for you Dad,’ misty-eyed Hudson Swafford’s tribute

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Hudson Sufford - TheGolfingHub
Hudson Sufford with his second American Express title in five years. Photo: sportinglife.com

Two factors stood out for Hudson Swafford after he won The American Express on Sunday. The good bit was his third PGA Tour title came after the 2017 Amex win, the sad part was his father wasn’t around to see his boy win. Excerpts from an interview:

Congratulations on your second title here at the American Express. Some thoughts on the victory.

Hudson Swafford: It was a great back nine. The 3-putt on 13 didn’t really faze me at all. Like, I hit a good shot. I was in between clubs and it ran to the back of the green and kind of misread it, the second putt, and just hit a bad shot on 15. But other than that it was pretty flawless back nine. I think it was an eagle and five birdies, I believe.

 

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So a lot more good than bad. This was definitely a special one, a third win, and about a month ago my father passed away and his birthday was this week, so I know he was following and watching and to get it done, it was awesome. So that’s about all I got there.

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Five years ago you birdied the 17th hole on the last day to win too. But given the circumstances, were those three shots on 16 about as good as you can possibly put three shots together?

Swafford: Yeah, absolutely. In 2017, I just remember coming to 15, I think I was one back, and just hitting some flawless golf shots from 15, 16, 17 and 18. And this year I probably hit my worst shot of the day on 15 and led to a very awkward lie in the ryegrass on a down slope to a raised green, and I was kind of up against, I didn’t have a very good lie and I caught my chip just a little thin and, man, I hit a really good putt and still didn’t have any negative thoughts, was swinging at it great, playing great, but knew I needed to kind of stay focused because I had the next three holes downwind. So I knew they were all birdie holes.

What was your father’s name and could you just talk about how he helped you growing up?

Swafford: Yeah, absolutely. It was David Swafford. One of the best people I know and he taught me everything I know, how to be a dad, how to be a friend, how to be a champion, and how to play golf. He’s the one that got me into golf when I was young. He gave me every opportunity to succeed, but never pushed it on me.

 

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But I always kind of wanted to hang out with him, so he would take me to the golf course and we were playing and I would play in his men’s game when I was younger. And he was just, he kind of taught me all the basics and gave me every opportunity in life to succeed. I know he’s proud. He hadn’t really watched me since I think 2017 Masters. I think it was the last time he came out and followed me around on the golf course. So I guess QBE was, he passed away the week, or the very beginning of QBE, like, and so that was the first golf tournament he got to see me play, and this is the third. So to get a W while he’s pushing me from above, it’s so special.

Your memory from the first win here, those are always family celebrations of long waiting? Do you remember, do you have memories of your dad and that win?

Swafford: Yeah, winning here, obviously getting my first PGA TOUR win, on cloud 9, FaceTime with my family, got to take my dad to Augusta National, played Augusta National with him before my first Masters with Jeff Knox. And it was such a memorable day, just an incredible experience that I’ll always cherish. To give back to somebody that provided me and paved the way for what I love to do and what I get to show my son what I get to do and how dad just kind of inspired me, it’s truly incredible.

You went through a pretty rough stretch last year. 10 missed cuts of 11, I think. How difficult was that and how have you kind of overcome? Because we all know how rough those stretches can be on you mentally as much as physically, so how did you overcome that to get back on track?

Swafford: Golf’s not easy. I had a great win. I had a good fall last year, and then I kind of was working on my golf swing, just trying to make it a little better and, man, I really struggled. I’m a fader of the golf ball. I’ve never played with an open club face and my club face was consistently open. I didn’t know where the ball was going to go. It was wearing on me.

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