Rory McIlroy has revealed an incredibly insightful interview with Irish Independent's Paul Kimmage how he was "very hard" on his well-respected, former caddie JP Fitzgerald.
McIlroy axed Fitzgerald in July 2017 following a nine-year partnership together that had seen him become World No.1 and land four major titles along with a FedEx Cup.
He then replaced Fitzgerald with his best mate Harry Diamond, and has since gone on to win five times on the PGA Tour and he also won the FedEx Cup for the second time in his career last year.
The Northern Irishman will also move to World No.1 next week for the first time since September 2015.
Speaking to the Irish Independent following a run of four consecutive top-four finishes including victory at the WGC-HSBC Champions, McIlroy went into details behind the reasons why he replaced Fitzgerald with his best pal Diamond.
"I want to clear that up," said McIlroy. "I knew before [Birkdale] it was going to be his last week, and because I knew it, it was almost the reason I gave the media that nugget (‘You're Rory McIlroy!') about what he did for me.
"So that's where that came from — almost a guilty conscience — knowing what was coming. I don't want to throw him under the bus but there were a few things that happened in '17 that were just – I think both people in a relationship like that can get complacent, and I think there was a bit of complacency, so I decided after the Masters it was probably time. I was getting very hard on him. Really hard. Really angry.
"It was partly to do with him and mostly to do with me. I wasn't playing the best and was frustrated at myself and taking it out on him: "I'm f------ trying hard here!" And whether that was (related) to a club I'd hit, or wanted to hit or – but it was not good. And it's something I would never do with [current caddie] Harry [Diamond]. Never."
Fitzgerald now works with in-form European Tour player Victor Perez, who has now progressed to 42nd in the world rankings.
McIlroy also spoke to the Irish Independent about a number of other topics in the sport, including Tiger Woods - read the full interview here.