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Rory McIlroy fires long-time caddie J.P. Fitzgerald

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Rory McIlroy has fired long-time caddie J.P. Fitzgerald. The report comes from Reuters, which cited a source familiar with the matter.

With Fitzgerald on the bag the past nine years, the 28-year-old McIlroy won each of his four major championships and rose to the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Just two weeks ago, McIlroy credited Fitzgerald for his recovery from a disastrous start at The Open Championship. After carding 5-over par on the front nine, McIlroy played the final 63 holes in 10-under to finish T4.

McIlroy is expected to have a new caddie this week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. The firing is yet to be confirmed by McIlroy or his team.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Devilsadvocate

    Aug 4, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Hahahaha well played

  2. freeze

    Aug 1, 2017 at 8:06 am

    why not wait until after the fedex cup is over. caddies call yardage and carry the bag, if you need more then that you are lost. he is chasing his 2011-2014 seasons, maybe that player or that circumstance is gone for good

  3. Darryl

    Aug 1, 2017 at 7:19 am

    He should have done this a while back, I don’t doubt JP’s credentials but McIlroy needs an enforcer on the bag, someone who will tell him flat out when he’s making a dumb choice of shot. How many times have we seen Rory, on a par 5, in wet 2 inch rough, ball sitting down, 3 wood in hand, 250 yards from a green with 100 yards of water to carry and the pin 3 paces from front? It doesn’t matter who you are, that’s not a great idea, unless you are sitting +1 and need to be -1 to play the weekend or that’s your card gone. The USPGA a couple of years back, 3 holes into the tournament, Rorys ball is sitting behind a meaty oak tree root and he pulls 6 iron and bangs it at the green, could have ended his week, his season and possibly his major winning career taking that risk. JP should have said, “boss, we’ve got 69 holes to go, chip out pitch on and try and hole the putt, don’t be silly”. Now he may have said that, we don’t know, but if he did and Rory ignored him he should have downed tools there and then. Rory is basically Lee Westwood with bottle, an amazing ball striker who spent (and, it appears, still spends) too little time on the short game. His belief is that he can pound courses into submission and the 32 shots he takes from tee to green on a good day balances out the 34 putts.

    • Someone

      Aug 1, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      the caddy isn’t to blame. every shot is the golfers choice. the caddy is there to carry the bag and possibly give their impression of the lay of the land. the golfer is always the only person responsible for their game.

  4. Winmac

    Aug 1, 2017 at 3:26 am

    I think he’ll be having an extra bone soon.

  5. JThunder

    Jul 31, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Interesting that when Rory “fires” his caddie, he is criticized and belittled on everything from his putting to his personal relationships – yet when major corporate CEOs lay off thousands of people (which happens every month), it’s “just business” and “someone has to make the tough decisions”…

    How about a shank or two for Microsoft? JCPenny? Verizon?

    • Phil Knight

      Aug 1, 2017 at 12:09 am

      Have a hard time staying on topic? Making a leap from a golfer firing his caddie to complaining about corporate hiring practices is just stupid. It’s not even apples and oranges, more like apples and rhinoceroses’.

  6. Matt

    Jul 31, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    I wasn’t a Rory fan when he was winning majors. I like him a bit more now but this is a bad look. His game is what is lacking not the guy carrying the bag.

  7. ooffaa

    Jul 31, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Brilliant editorializing over nothing much

  8. Rwj

    Jul 31, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Married, he’ll never be the same. Garcia as well

    • DrRob1963

      Jul 31, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      Hey Rory – Put the bride on the bag!

  9. RG

    Jul 31, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Rory, Im available. Have your people call my people.

  10. roland stanley

    Jul 31, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    maybe it will be tiger on the bag.

  11. jgpl001

    Jul 31, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    About time..if he wants to move to a new level
    JP is a nice guy, but not a top caddie
    Now for a new coach, he needs this also
    Unfortunately no changes will make him a better putter

  12. Dweebly

    Jul 31, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I heard it was Wozniaki after a stellar showing at the Par 3 contest.

  13. Someone

    Jul 31, 2017 at 10:53 am

    did he actually fire him? or did they just part ways like phil and bones? if it’s the latter, then this article is hugely blown it out of proportion.

    • neil

      Jul 31, 2017 at 10:59 am

      wont be fired.will work for Rory Foundation

      or will be well compensated ,million pay off

  14. Dave R

    Jul 31, 2017 at 10:19 am

    New wife new caddie. Huh!

  15. Mike

    Jul 31, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I’m Available to do the bag, very experienced and cheap lol

  16. Anders

    Jul 31, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Oh, so if all else fails, fire the caddie? Interesting to see if this works out or backfires. One thing for sure – there is a very good caddie available for work.

  17. Barry

    Jul 31, 2017 at 9:34 am

    He will hire Billy Foster if he’s smart

    (which he has not proven to be so far)

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Tour News

It’s the Ardmore! Woods begins Quicken Loans National with TaylorMade putter in the bag

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If you had a bet going with your buddies that there was no way Tiger Woods would depart from his beloved 13 major-winning Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS this week, you lose.

Woods started the first round of the Quicken Loans National with the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 he has been practicing all week with at TPC Potomac.

Adam Schupak spotted Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, on the way to the first tee for Woods’ 1:20 ET start time with the camo TaylorMade putter cover in the bag (not surprisingly, the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 was beneath the cover).

Woods has struggled with the putter this season, as we’re all well aware, particularly since the Memorial. No. 89 on Tour in strokes gained: putting, the 14-time major champion knew he had to do something.

“I’m trying to find something that I can feel again, like the swing of the putter, getting my body in the right positions and seeing the lines again,” Woods said. “You know, it’s just one of those things, once I start to get the ball rolling on my lines, then I’ll be back to putting like I was. I just have not been rolling it on my lines. And then on top of that, when they don’t roll on lines, then I have a hard time seeing my lines and it’s a vicious cycle. And I’m just trying to get out of that cycle.”

Woods reportedly tried a number of TaylorMade putters in the Bahamas last week, arriving (as far as we know) at the Quicken Loans National with just the Ardmore and his Newport to choose between.

He has made his choice for the first round. We’ll see how it pans out and whether Woods remains a mallet man all week.

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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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