Rory McIlroy Explains Split With Caddie JP Fitzgerald

"Sometimes to preserve a personal relationship you have to sacrifice a professional one."

Rory McIlroy Explains Split With Caddie JP Fitzgerald
(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Sometimes to preserve a personal relationship you have to sacrifice a professional one."

Rory McIlroy Explains Split With Caddie JP Fitzgerald

Rory McIlroy has split with his long-term caddie JP Fitzgerald, and told media why the pair split in his pre-tournament press conference at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

The Ulsterman was defiant the pair split on good terms and that JP wasn't 'fired'.

The world number four said, "sometimes to preserve a personal relationship you have to sacrifice a professional one."

Related: Remembering Rory McIlroy's first PGA Tour win

"JP has been a huge part of my life for the past decade, but I was getting very hard on him at times," McIlroy added.

"You don't want to be like that with anyone but sometimes this game drives you to it.

"I would say he is still one of my closest friends. We started together in 2008, we've had a lot of great times on and off the golf course.

Rory McIlroy explains Split With Caddie JP Fitzgerald

McIlroy and JP at the Open

"There's nothing to say JP won't work with me again at some point, but I felt like it was the right thing to do. It was a really tough decision.

"I hate the term fired or axed, it definitely wasn't what it was. I changed my path a little bit but it was just a build-up of stuff, I felt I needed to make that change."

JP caddied for McIlroy in all four of the Northern-Irishman's major wins in his rise to world number one.

Related: Rory McIlroy's 30-minute warm-up routine

The pair have worked together since 2008, shortly after Rory turned professional.

rory mcilroy splits with caddie

JP and Rory McIlroy at the 2008 Singapore Open. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

It comes just over a week after the four-time major winner publicly thanked JP for helping him get through a torrid spell in the first round of the Open.

When five-over after just six holes, JP managed to kick McIlroy into gear.

Related: Rory McIlroy's Gym Routine...Revealed!

"JP, he reminded me who I was, basically he said, 'You're Rory McIlroy, what the f--- are you doing?', he said."

Whilst it does come as a surprise, the reality is that McIlroy is yet to add to his major tally since the 2014 USPGA Championship.

Perhaps a change may be best for both parties here, and it is nice to see that they have split on good terms.

Rory Mcilroy splits with caddie

JP caddied for Paul McGinley, most notably at the 2002 Ryder Cup when the Irishman sunk the winning putt

Forbes estimated that Fitzgerald earned $1.65 million from his cut of McIlroy's prize money over the 12 months to June this year.

Fitzgerald has also caddied for Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Ernie Els.

Related: Rory McIlroy: How I practice

He will have his close friend Harry Diamond on the bag at Firestone this week and next week at the USPGA Championship, but there is no news on his next permanent caddie.

"I just needed someone that knew me and that's why I took Harry for the next couple of weeks," McIlroy said.

"If something doesn't work out and Harry and I say two weeks is enough I'll need to find someone else but I've got 10 days between the end of the PGA and the start of the Northern Trust to do that."

Who will Rory McIlroy's next caddie permanent caddie be?

There has been some obvious speculation over Jim 'Bones' Mackay working with McIlroy after Bones and Phil Mickelson recently ended their 25-year working relationship.

However, Bones has signed up with Golf Channel and NBC as an on-course reporter for the next year so that does look unlikely.

The bookies are making Joe LaCava favourite, who has been on Tiger Woods' bag since late 2011.

LaCava, who was Fred Couples' caddie for nearly 20 years, has been out of work since February and it is unknown when, or even if, Tiger Woods will return to competitive action.

This could be quite a good move for the American.

Other names in the running are Lee Westwood's caddie Billy Foster and Steve Williams.

Williams was Tiger Woods's main bagman before caddying for Adam Scott, although he is now semi-retired.

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x