McIlroy explains reason for caddie split

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McIlroy’s last major win came at the 2014 Players’ Championship

Rory McIlroy said “sometimes to preserve a personal relationship you have to sacrifice a professional one” as he explained the reasons behind his split with caddie JP Fitzgerald.

Northern Ireland’s world number four, 28, parted ways with Fitzgerald on Monday, ending a nine-year partnership.

In that time, McIlroy had four major wins, but he is without one since 2014.

“JP has been a huge part of my life for the past decade, but I was getting very hard on him at times,” McIlroy said.

“You don’t want to be like that with anyone but sometimes this game drives you to it.

“I would say he is still one of my closest friends. We started together in 2008, we’ve had a lot of great times on and off the golf course.

“There’s nothing to say JP won’t work with me again at some point, but I felt like it was the right thing to do. It was a really tough decision.

“I hate the term fired or axed, it definitely wasn’t what it was. I changed my path a little bit but it was just a build-up of stuff, I felt I needed to make that change.”

The move came a week after McIlroy praised Fitzgerald at the Open at Royal Birkdale, saying the caddie had delivered some blunt words after the Holywood player started the tournament with a string of bogeys.

After fighting back to shoot a one-over 71 in the first round, McIlroy told reporters Fitzgerald had done a “great job” by giving him a “good talking to”.

McIlroy has decided to use Harry Diamond, a friend since childhood, at the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in Akron, Ohio and at next week’s major, the PGA Championship in Charlotte.

But he has not made a long-term decision about who to use after that.

“I just needed someone that knew me and that’s why I took Harry for the next couple of weeks,” he said.

“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.”

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