Rory McIlroy’s 2017 season has been a frustrating one.
A stress fracture to one of his ribs has forced McIlroy to miss significant time and cost him consistency through the first half of the summer. An equipment change following the Masters has given the four-time major champion a sense of stability with his equipment, but he’s still working through the process of completing the 14-club process in his bag.
On Monday, Reuters reported the latest change for McIlroy will be the person in charge of carrying that bag of new equipment. According to a report released in the early morning hours, McIlroy’s professional relationship with J.P. Fitzgerald has come to an end after nine years.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) July 31, 2017
Rory McIlroy has sacked his long-time caddie J.P. Fitzgerald, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday, ending 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, the source, who did not want to be named, said.
There was no immediate response from McIlroy’s management to an e-mailed request for comment late on Sunday.
Phil Mickelson parted ways with his caddie Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay earlier this month after a 25-year partnership that netted the American five major titles.
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 his bagman for jolting him into gear when he made a poor start to the British Open.
McIlroy, who won his last major at the 2014 U.S. PGA Championship, employed Fitzgerald in 2008 shortly after turning professional.
The pair enjoyed a brilliantly successful partnership as McIlroy took over from Tiger Woods as the game’s dominant force and became world number one.
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has released the odds for Fitzgerald’s replacement, which includes a list of notable candidates that range from the likely to the bizarre. Among the notables are McIlroy’s best friend Harry Diamond, the recently-available former caddie of Phil Mickelson, Jim “Bones” Mackay.
Other top loopers such as Billy Foster (formerly on Lee Westwood’s bag), Gareth Lord (Henrik Stenson’s caddie), Joe LaCava (Tiger Woods’ caddie) and semi-retired Steve Williams (Woods’ former and Adam Scott’s occasional bag man) populate the list.
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