Published: Tue, August 01, 2017
Finance | By Laverne Griffith

Rory McIlroy picks best friend to caddie at WGC-Bridgestone, PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy picks best friend to caddie at WGC-Bridgestone, PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy has fired long-time caddy J.P. Fitzgerald, according to reports.

The four-time major champion is said to have brought his nine-year relationship with Fitzgerald to an end.

The pair enjoyed a successful partnership as McIlroy, who won his last major at the 2014 US PGA, took over from Tiger Woods as the game's dominant force. "Fitzgerald offered some advice to the 28-year-old McIlroy, he told him, "'You're Rory McIlroy. "He reminded me who I was". He rebounded to win the U.S. Open, his first major, two months later.

McIlroy publicly thanked his caddie for the "great job" he had done in rekindling his spirits, as he stormed home in 32 shots for a 71. McIlroy has been somewhat struggling for form in 2017, and although he did manage a fourth-place finish at the British Open, perhaps he feels he needs to shake things up. Phil Mickelson just recently parted ways with his caddie after 25 years together.

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McIlroy is set to address the issue when he speaks to media at Akron on Wednesday, the eve of the WGC-Bridgestone where he is in fact the sole Irish player in the field.

Who McIlroy chooses to be his permanent caddie is yet to be known. Forbes estimated that Fitzgerald earned $1.65m from his cut of McIlroy's prize money over the 12 months to June this year. Indeed had McIlroy not won at the US Open in 2011, just two months after his Masters collapse, Fitzgerald might have gone then as McIlroy's advisors at the time, ISM, sought to fix the damage of Augusta.

McIlroy hired Fitzgerald back in 2008. Fitzgerald's meticulousness has been called into question by his peers, some of whom believe the mistake at Birkdale was merely the latest error.

Diamond has been McIlroy's friend since both were kids in Holywood, Northern Ireland, and he served as best man at the McIlroy-Erica Stoll wedding in April.

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