A report was recently released that Rory McIlroy fired longtime friend and caddie J.P. Fitzgerald, who was on his bag for each of McIlroy’s four major championship victories. While McIlory doesn’t want to consider this a “firing,” and simply a change of paths, he did confirm the split and spoke candidly about the decision during a press conference ahead of the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

He admits to being “very hard on him” on the golf course, and that he “didn’t want to treat someone like that.”

“I still consider J.P. one of my best friends, one of my closest friends, but sometimes to preserve a personal relationship, you might have to sacrifice a professional one, and that was sort of the decision that I came to in the end,” McIlroy said. “I was getting very hard on him on the golf course and I didn’t want to treat someone that – I don’t want to treat anyone like that. But sometimes this game drives you to that, but I felt like it was the right thing to do, and I don’t think there was any good time to do it.”

McIlroy, now ranked No. 4 in the Official World Golf Rankings, has replaced Fitzgerald with his friend, Harry Diamond, for both this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the 2017 PGA Championship.

During the press conference, McIlroy didn’t rule out going back to Fitzgerald in the future, but “needed to mix things up a bit.”

“There’s nothing to say that J.P. mightn’t work for me again at some point, but right now I just felt like I needed a little bit of a change,” McIlroy said. “I hate the term fired or sacked or axed, because that’s definitely not what it was. I just changed my path a little bit, but maybe in the future that path might come back to where it was. Right now I just needed to mix things up a little bit, and J.P. understood that and we’re still all good.”

McIlroy is still chasing his first major championship victory since the 2014 PGA Championship.

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  1. Lot of hate by folks who have never made a business decision in their life. Rory has obligations (sponsors, fans, family, etc) and felt like he needed a new guy on the bag. I dont know why, but 90% of golf is mental, so I dont have to know why. Made sense to him, and its his future on the line. Time will tell if he made a good business move.

  2. Good for JP. After putting up with a player that has turned into a prissy DB maybe he can get a better bag. What an excuse from RM…protecting a friendship indeed.

  3. Take credit for the wins, blame the caddie for the mistakes…

    I wouldn’t want to treat my friend like that either. So I’d own up to my mistakes on the course and move on.

  4. Looks like Rory is growing into being a not so nice person. Its not your caddy. He will treat his next caddy the same way. Blame yourself when you play poorly. I may be wrong but I see these young players blaming their caddies much more than before, Could be more coverage on course. The game’s bedrock is taking responsibility for your actions and outcomes. Gee If I play poorly I blame myself because I don’t have a caddy. Note to self: Hire a caddy asap.

  5. JP will find another bag no problem. Guy is a good looper. Been on the biggest stages, Ryder Cups etc…To be honest, it’s surprising how long some of these caddie/player combo’s last. You spend more time with your caddie than you do with your spouse/significant other. It’s just expected that things will get tense or spats will happen. Tough when it is a friend though.

  6. Did I read somewhere that he missed clubbed him on one hole at the open. It sounds strange to me. He doesn’t seem to like anyone sharing the credit, I’m still convinced that’s why he got rid of Chubby Chandler.

  7. I agree with the above comments, that Rory’s statement is not consistent with him then putting his friend on the bag. He basically said he switched caddies because he is hard on caddies and doesn’t want to be hard on a friend. And then hires a good friend. I think he is simply being nice to his previous caddie. He doesn’t trust him anymore. Hence, why he was being hard on him. Rory just doesn’t want to throw him under the buss and hurt his chances of being picked up by another pro. That is my $0.02 and I could be completely wrong!

  8. Spot on about the load of bollocks. Specifically this line:
    “I was getting very hard on him on the golf course and I didn’t want to treat someone that – I don’t want to treat anyone like that.”
    So, you are now going to be just as hard on your BFF, or are you going to change your approach? If you are changing, why not keep Fitzgerald?

    • Agree with you and the others that are feeling dislike for Rory. Sounds more and more like a selfish a-hole who won’t take responsibility for his bad behavior.