In Brief

Rory McIlroy sacks caddie JP Fitzgerald: Who will take over?

A week after praising his bagman, the former world number one has ended their nine-year relationship

After almost a decade together, Rory McIlroy has parted ways with his caddie JP Fitzgerald. The news comes as a surprise as McIlroy praised his caddie for inspiring him to reach fourth place at The Open. 

Their nine-year partnership saw McIlroy win four majors and rise to the top of the world rankings. 

At Royal Birkdale last week McIlroy revealed that it was a sharp talking to from Fitzgerald that snapped him out of a slump after he went five over par in the first six holes. 

As the Northern Irishman struggled, his caddie told him: "You're Rory McIlroy – what the f*** are you doing?"

However, James Corrigan of the Daily Telegraph reports that two days later Fitzgerald was back in the spotlight for the wrong reasons after the wrong club selection led to a double bogey on the tenth hole. 

News of the split "was not greeted with too much surprise", adds Corrigan.

"Within the game, there have long been calls for McIlroy to employ a new bagman, but he remained fiercely loyal to Fitzgerald, once a top amateur in his own right who previously worked for the likes of Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley.

"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."

There's already speculation about who will replace Fitzgerald at this week's WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Akron. Some believe McIlroy's best friend Harry Diamond will be on the bag in the short term. 

Another candidate is Jim 'Bones' Mackay, who recently parted ways with Phil Mickelson after 25 years. And John Smart who caddied for Danny Willett at last year's US Open could also get the nod says Corrigan. 

Also in the running are Billy Foster, who used to caddie for Lee Westwood, and Fred Couples's former caddie Joe LaCava, says USA Today

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