A season of change continues for Rory McIlroy, who has changed all but his hairstyle this year. From clubs, to golf balls, to multiple putters, it is now being reported today that he has separated from his longtime caddie JP Fitzgerald. McIlroy and Fitzgerald have been together since 2008, which took the Irishman to 4 major titles along with the world No.1 spot.
McIlroy is expected to have a new caddie for this weeks World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational. The announcement is set to be confirmed on his arrival to Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. This news comes but a week after Rory publicly came out and thanked his caddie for jump-starting his round at The Open Championship, after a string of bogeys had left his weekend in jeopardy.
Throughout the years Rory had been quick to defend his caddie at every turn during their reign together but there has been increased scrutiny on Fitzgerald over the past couple of months as Rory struggled throughout a number of tournaments. But at last the need to freshen up, and of course to try to emulate Jordan Spieth’s brilliant course management skills, which were instrumental in him winning his third major at Birkdale, looks to have persuaded McIlroy that it was the right moment for a change.
The decision itself may not surprise many but the timing certainly will. The caddie change comes at the start of another one of those critical stretches on the golf calendar, with a WGC title and the season’s final major coming in the next two weeks and then the lucrative FedExCup, where Rory is defending champ, coming shortly thereafter. Rory is the co-favorite for the PGA at Quail Hollow, a venue where he’s dominated in his career and is expected to feast again in pursuit of a fifth major. The expectation is that an associate or friend will fulfil the immediate duties. Inevitably there is speculation that Jim “Bones” Mackay, who has recently split with Phil Mickelson after 25 years together, will step up into the permanent role.
There will be no shortage of rumors coming out on who will be McIlroys new caddie and there will be no shortage of applicants. We just hope both McIlroy and Fitzgerald have ended their 9 year relationship on good terms and the split will benefit both of them in the years to come.