Rory McIlroy's year of change and upheaval took another jarring turn on Monday with the surprise announcement he has parted company with his caddie JP Fitzgerald.
The move has shocked some golf fans, especially after the four-time major champion thanked Fitzgerald personally for turning his day around at Royal Birkdale.
McIlroy's representatives have said he will not confirm nor deny the Diamond report - or formally discuss the caddie issue - until he meets the press Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET from Firestone Country Club, site of this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
"You're Rory McIlroy, what the f*** are you doing?" 'JP kept me positive out there, so that was very much appreciated'.
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The 28-year-old won there in 2014, the year he won The Open and the PGA Championship on his way to the world No1 ranking. It's a curious decision by McIlroy to drop Fitzgerald now, seeing as the PGA venue is Quail Hollow, a place where the Northern Irishman has six top-10 finishes in seven starts at the Wells Fargo Championship, including two victories.
It now looks like the Open Championship was Fitzgerald's swan song with McIlroy, who flirted with contention in the final round before finishing equal fourth. The Dubliner was reported by Forbes to have earned $1.65 million a year ago from his role as McIlroy's caddie.
The news has been broked by Reuters who claim to have an inside source. A childhood friend who grew up in the same Belfast suburb of Holywood, he is a fine player in his own right, having played with McIlroy in the Ulster youth team and represented the Irish senior team. The Telegraph in the United Kingdom reported that his best friend, Harry Diamond will be on the bag this week.
This morning's news comes just weeks after Phil Mickelson ended his relationship with caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay after 25 years.