Report: McIlroy splits with longtime caddie Fitzgerald


Rory McIlroy has split with longtime caddie J.P. Fitzgerald, according to a report Monday by Reuters, which cited an unnamed source.

Mcllroy is in the field this week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, his final tuneup before the PGA Championship. He is scheduled to meet with the media at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday.

When contacted by Golf Channel, McIlroy's manager, Sean O'Flaherty, said: "Nothing to share. Rory will address all questions on Wednesday in Akron." 

It would be a major shakeup for the world No. 4, as McIlroy and Fitzgerald have been together for nine years and four major titles, most recently at the 2014 PGA.

The news comes two weeks after McIlroy credited Fitzgerald for giving him a kick-start in the opening round of The Open. After a rough opening stretch, Fitzgerald told McIlroy: “You’re Rory McIlroy. What the f--- are you doing?”

“He’s had to do it a few times, and he’s never afraid to do that,” McIlroy told reporters afterward. “I feel today it helped a lot more than at other times because I needed something. It wasn’t that I couldn’t look within myself; I was trying to look within myself. But J.P. kept me positive out there, so that was very much appreciated.”

Two days later, however, McIlroy surged into contention at Royal Birkdale before a mis-club on the 10th hole led to a double bogey and ended his chances.

McIlroy has remained fiercely loyal to Fitzgerald, who previously worked with Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke, even amid calls for him to improve his course management.

In 2011, when BBC analyst Jay Townsend pointed the finger at Fitzgerald, McIlroy hit back: “J.P. can’t stand up for himself in the media. I have to stand up for him because he is the best man I think I can have on my bag. He has taken me from 200 in the world to major champion.”