Rory McIlroy axes caddie JP Fitzgerald after nine-year partnership

Rory McIlroy axes caddie JP Fitzgerald after nine-year partnership

Fitzgerald, who numbers Paul McGinley and Ernie Els among his former employers, caddied for McIlroy for nine years during which time his man won four Majors.

McIlroy is playing in this week's WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Akron where Harry Diamond will take his bag and he will also be on the world No 4's shoulder at next week's US PGA Championship. He said: "'You're Rory McIlroy, what are you doing?'"

Ironically, Fitzgerald bows out following praise from McIlroy for his contribution to the latter's revival in their last event together at The Open at Royal Birkdale less than a fortnight ago. "He reminded me who I was, basically". I know that people think that he failed but Top 5 at a major championship is pretty good going. "You've got to be positive and he did a great job".

Forbes estimated that Fitzgerald earned about US$1.65 million (S$2.2m) from his cut of McIlroy's prize money over the 12 months to June. Apart from the few months at the start of his professional career, McIlroy has known only Fitzgerald in his corner.

More news: Apple Removes Popular VPNs From Its App Store in China

Who McIlroy chooses to be his permanent caddie is yet to be known.

It transformed the round, after which McIlroy, who finished fourth, said: "It helped". The Irish caddie has benefited hugely from that partnership, but had been the subject of criticism from sections of the media due to perceived failings, partiuclarly in the aftermath of McIlroy's collapse at the 2011 Masters Tournament.

McIlroy has not won since his Fed-Ex Cup triumph last September.

Leona Maguire, the world number one ranked amateur, and Olivia Mehaffey are both in the field for the Ricoh Women's British Open which takes place at Kingsbarns in Scotland, starting on Thursday.

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