Rory McIlroy SACKS caddie JP Fitzgerald to end nine-year relationship

McIlroy appointed Fitzgerald as his caddie shortly after turning professional back in 2008

"He has taken me from 200 in the world to major champion", McIlroy said at the time.

They had worked together for the past nine years, during which McIlroy won four major championships and reached No. 1 in the world. With Rory McIlroy at five-over for the opening nine holes on the first day of The Open, Fitzgerald turned to his golfer and said, "You're Rory McIlroy, what the fuck are you doing?". It appears caddie JP Fitzgerald has paid the price for Rory McIlroy's failure to keep pace with golf's American agenda setter. "He kept me positive out there, so that was very much appreciated".

McIlroy is set to address the issue when he speaks to media at Akron on Wednesday, the eve of the WGC-Bridgestone where he is in fact the sole Irish player in the field. Diamond is at least one oddsmaker's favorite to take over caddie duties permanently, though Paddy Power will let you bet that Phil Mickelson's ex-caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay, Tiger Woods' now inactive bagman Joe LaCava, or even Romeo from Tin Cup, among others, will eventually hand Rory his clubs, so do with that what you will.

Having picked up his bag not long after he turned professional, the experienced Fitzgerald was the flawless choice for McIlroy starting out, but there have been a number of occasions in recent years when, rightly or wrongly, a finger of blame was pointed in his direction.

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Fitzgerald's standing is such that he would not struggle for another top bag if he wants one - but, with an estimated £7m banked during his partnership with McIlroy, he might decide to walk away and indulge his love of horse racing.

Although Fitzgerald will no longer be on McIlroy's bag, he still earned quite a bit of money this year.

The 10-year partnership of Rory McIlroy and JP Fitzgerald is over after the Irishman sacked his caddie. Indeed had McIlroy not won at the US Open in 2011, just two months after his Masters collapse, Fitzgerald might have gone then as McIlroy's advisors at the time, ISM, sought to fix the damage of Augusta. McIlroy wound up finishing tied for fourth.

Who will be Fitzgerald's replacement?

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