Rory McIlroy finally revealed why he and, caddie of nine-years, JP Fitzgerald split. Explaining, “sometimes to preserve a personal relationship you have to sacrifice a professional one” as one of the reasons.
Rory McIlroy parted ways with JP on Monday but refused to rule out a reunion with Fitzgerald further down the line.
The pair had amassed 4 major titles, over 20 career victories and made four Ryder Cup appearances together, but in-different form had warranted the world’s number four to make a change.
Coming off a T4 finish at the 146th Open, McIlroy will have best mate, Harry Diamond, on the bag for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational this week and the US PGA Championship the following week.
Addressing the matter on Wednesday in Akron he also admitted to tense moments between the former pair in recent times.
“It’s a big change. JP has been a huge part of my life for the last decade. A lot of great times; a lot of great times on and off the golf course. I still consider JP one of my best friends, but sometimes to preserve a personal relationship you might have to sacrifice a professional one.”
“JP knows how much I think of him, how much he means to me, what we’ve achieved together, and it wasn’t an easy decision.”
“But I was getting very hard on him at times,” McIlroy said. I got to the point where, if I didn’t play a good shot or if I made a wrong decision, I was getting more frustrated at him than I was at myself. You don’t want to be like that with anyone.”
McIlroy also stressed that Fitzgerald had not been “fired or axed”, and that he detested those terms being used. He said: “There’s nothing to say that JP won’t work for me again at some point but right now I just felt like I needed a little bit of a change. JP understood that and we’re still all good.”
With Diamond on the bag it will be interesting to see how big a change it makes in the short term, with the hottest bag in golf still set for an uncertain future:
“It could be two weeks. It could go longer than that. If we have a couple of good weeks here, you never know. We’ll see how it goes.”
Diamond has caddied for McIlroy in the past, including at the 2005 Irish Open, and at the very start of the Northern Irishman’s professional career in 2008 Dubai Desert Classic.
“He knows me, he knows my game, he’s caddied for me before, he knows my personality. I just needed someone who knew me and knew my thought process.”
“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.”
If the pair has a successful week at Firestone. CC then next week’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow could be promising. McIlroy has won the Wells Fargo Championship twice in 2010 and 2015 and recorded three top-10s in seven other starts.
McIlroy tees off at 8:10 am on Thursday and 9:10 am on Friday alongside Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.