Rory McIlroy has reportedly fired long-time caddie JP Fitzgerald

McIlroy Fitzgerald

RORY MCILROY has fired his long-time caddie JP Fitzgerald, ending a partnership that took the Northern Irishman to four major titles and top spot in the rankings.

McIlroy and Fitzgerald had been together for nine years, almost McIlroy's entire pro career to date, including all four of McIlroy's major victories. McIlroy revealed that it was his fellow Irishman who snapped him out of his first round mire, telling him: "You're Rory McIlroy - what the f. are you doing?"

It appears the major at Royal Birkdale could be the last we see of Fitzgerald working alongside McIlroy. "He reminded me who I was, basically".

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McIlroy has 13 career PGA Tour wins, but has not claimed victory at an event since the Tour Championship in September 2016.

McIlroy hired Fitzgerald back in 2008.

This morning's news comes just weeks after Phil Mickelson ended his relationship with caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay after 25 years. He re-aggravated a back/rib injury earlier this year, but had his best finish at a major event in over two years at The Open Championship earlier this month when he finished tied for fourth place.

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Although Fitzgerald will no longer be on McIlroy's bag, he still earned quite a bit of money this year. A childhood friend who grew up in the same Belfast suburb of Holywood, he is a fine player in his own right, having played with McIlroy in the Ulster youth team and represented the Irish senior team.

Who will be Fitzgerald's replacement?

No word yet on who will succeed Fitzgerald long-term, but McIlroy's childhood friend Harry Diamond is expected to get the job for this week's Bridgestone Invitational and the USPGA next week.

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Over the years, McIlroy was a staunch defender of Fitzgerald when he came in for criticism.

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