Phil Mickelson parting ways with caddie Jim 'Bones' Mackay after 25 years

In one of the most stunning announcements in the game’s recent history, Phil Mickelson and Jim “Bones” Mackay have split after 25 years.

The duo, famous and entertaining for their loquacious deliberations before shots, announced the separation with statements Tuesday. The two walked stride for stride for all but one of Lefty’s 42 PGA Tour titles, including five major championships, plus multiple triumphs in the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup.

“Our decision is not based on a single incident. We just feel it’s the right time for a change,” Mickelson said. “Bones is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated caddies in the world. He is always prepared and has the ability to make decisions in pressure packed situations.

“Bones is without a doubt one of the most thoughtful people that I have ever known. The next player to work with him will obviously be very lucky.”

It is unknown who that next player will be. What is known is that Mickelson’s brother, Tim, will be on the bag the rest of the year. He replaced Bones in the second round of this year’s World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship when Mackay became ill. Mackay was back on the bag for the final two rounds.

“I will always be grateful that I was around to witness so much of Phil’s career,” Mackay said. “When Phil hired me in 1992, I had one dream: to caddie in a Ryder Cup. Last year, at Hazeltine, Phil played in his 11th straight Ryder Cup. It was so cool to have a front row seat.

“I wish Phil nothing but the best. His game is still at an elite level, and when he wins in the future (definitely the Masters), I will be among the first to congratulate him.”

Mickelson, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, and Mackay, considered by his peers as one of the best caddies in the world, covered a lot of ground — and fairways and greens — together.

Mackay was holding the flagstick when Mickelson took his leap of joy on the 18th green at Augusta National when he won his first major in the 2004 Masters. They shared so many other conquests, including Masters titles in 2006 and 2010, the 2006 PGA Championship and the 2013 British Open, the last time Mickelson tasted victory.

At Muirfield, Mackay broke down in tears following his boss’ victory in the British Open.

“The guy has done a lot of really cool things on a big stage,” Mackay said at the time. “He wants to be on the big stage, wants to hit big shots when it matters. Today he did that.”

There has been heartbreak, as well, including a record six runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open, the lone major title keeping Mickelson from the career grand slam. And plenty of other near-misses — Mackay fell to his knees when Mickelson’s putt for 59 somehow stayed out of the last hole in the opening round of the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open. And both were shocked when Mickelson’s bid for the first 62 in major championship history did all but fall into the hole in the first round of the 2016 British Open.

“My relationship and history with Bones far exceeds golf,” Mickelson said. “He has been one of the most important and special people in my life since the day we met and I will always be grateful for everything he has done for me.”

It is unknown who that next player will be. What is known is that Mickelson’s brother, Tim, will be on the bag the rest of the year.

“I will always be grateful that I was around to witness so much of Phil’s career,” Mackay said. “When Phil hired me in 1992, I had one dream: to caddie in a Ryder Cup. Last year, at Hazeltine, Phil played in his 11th straight Ryder Cup. It was so cool to have a front row seat.

“I wish Phil nothing but the best. His game is still at an elite level, and when he wins in the future (definitely the Masters), I will be among the first to congratulate him.”

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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