Rory McIlroy has sacked his long-time caddie JP Fitzgerald, bringing to an end a partnership that took the Northern Irishman to four major titles and the top of the world rankings.
McIlroy will have a new caddie on his bag at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational this week after ending his nine-year relationship with his fellow Irishman. There has yet to be any confirmation from McIlroy’s management.
Fitzgerald’s sacking, which McIlroy is expected to confirm on his arrival at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, comes barely a week after he publicly thanked the caddie for jolting him into gear when he made a poor start to the Open.
After McIlroy made bogeys at five of the first six holes, Fitzgerald said to him: “You’re Rory McIlroy, what the fuck are you doing?” He eventually shot a one-over-par 71, with McIlroy saying afterwards that the caddie had done a “great job”.
McIlroy, who won his last major at the 2014 US PGA Championship, employed Fitzgerald in 2008, shortly after turning professional. The pair enjoyed a successful partnership as he took over from Tiger Woods as the game’s dominant force and became world No1. “He has taken me from 200 in the world to major champion,” McIlroy said of Fitzgerald in 2011.
It now looks like the Open was Fitzgerald’s swan song with McIlroy, who flirted with contention in the final round before finishing tied-fourth. Forbes estimated that Fitzgerald earned $1.65m from his cut of McIlroy’s prize money over the 12 months to June this year.
Fitzgerald’s sacking is the second high profile partnership to break up after Phil Mickelson parted ways with his caddie Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay earlier this month after 25-years together that saw the American win five major titles.