Rory McIlroy on axing JP Fitzgerald: "I was getting very hard on JP on the golf course"

Rory McIlroy on sacking long-term caddie: "I was getting more frustrated at him than I was at myself."

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 2 Aug 2017
rory mcilroy on caddie split i was getting hard on jp on the golf course


Rory McIlroy today confirmed his split with caddie JP Fitzgerald on the eve of this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, claiming he made the decision because he was "getting more frustrated at him" than he was at himself.  

McIlroy, 28, sacked Fitzgerald just 11 days after publicly praising him for giving him the kickstart he needed when playing his first six holes of the Open Championship two weeks ago in 6-over par, before rallying over the weekend to finish tied fourth. 

The former world number one has worked with Fitzgerald his entire professional year, landing four majors, money list titles, the FedEx Cup, Ryder Cup victories and reaching world number one together.

It is estimated Fitzgerald won £7 million in earnings while on the bag of McIlroy for nine years. 

"Let's address the elephant in the room," one reporter started.

"JP's not that big," McIlroy quipped, inducing laughter among the media.

"It’s a big change," continued McIlroy. "JP has been a huge part of my life for the last decade. We started in July 2008 and went all the way to July this year.

"We had a lot of great times on and off the golf course. I still consider JP one of my best friends, one of my closest friends, but sometimes to preserve a personal relationship you have to sacrifice a professional one and that was the decision that I came to in the end."

But winless since scooping the Tour Championship to land the FedEx Cup in September 2016, the world number four revealed a lack of tournament victories and his endless pursuit of success was putting a strain on their working relationship.

"I was getting very hard on him on the golf course and I don’t want to treat somebody, anybody, like that," he said.

"I felt like it was the right thing to do and I don’t think there was any good time to do it. 

"It was a very tough decision to make but I thought I'm coming to Firestone, I have four tournament rounds to either get to know someone or get used to having someone else on my bag going into the last major of the year, and that's really it.

"I thanked JP for everything. 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 at the end of the day I felt like it was a change that I needed to make because I would much rather be - and 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. 

"I would much rather be angry at myself and angry at myself for making a wrong decision than being angry at him, and that was really why."


McIlroy tees up alongside Jordan Spieth and Jason Day for the opening two rounds of this week's WGC-Bridgestone at Firestone Country Club where he won in 2014.

The Ulsterman's best mate Harry Diamond, pictured above, will be on the bag in Akron and also next week at the season's final major the US PGA Championship, where McIlroy will bid to win a third Wanamaker Trophy in six years. 

We caught up McIlroy just hours after he returned from the Open Championship, a day before he sacked Fitzgerald...