In years to come, those of us in the golf industry will probably look back on 2017 as the ‘Year of the Break-Up’.
The latest high-profile, Richter-registering split was announced today, with news of Sergio Garcia and long-time equipment sponsor TaylorMade parting ways.
Including today's Garcia news, here are six of the other high-profile partnerships that have reached the end of the road this year…
Sergio Garcia & TaylorMade
TaylorMade released a statement saying that it had released the Spaniard from his contract early after 15 years together. It came just six months after his maiden major win at the Masters and days after adidas completed the divestiture of TaylorMade, Adams Golf and Ashworth to a newly-formed affiliate of KPS Capital Partners.
Phil Mickelson & Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay
It seemed like the player-caddie relationship that would never end – but it did in June. “After 25 very rewarding and memorable years, Bones and I have mutually decided to end our player-caddie relationship," said Mickelson. “Our decision is not based on a single incident. We just feel it's the right time for a change.” Mickelson employed brother Tim on the bag for the rest of the season, while Bones joined Golf Channel as an on-course reporter.
Rory McIlroy & J.P. Fitzgerald
After crediting J.P. for giving him a kick up the backside during the first round of the Open, Rory dumped his caddie of nine years a few days afterwards. “Sometimes to preserve a personal relationship you have to sacrifice a professional one and that was the decision that I came to in the end,” said the four-time major champion.
Lee Westwoood & Chubby Chandler
In July, the Englishman split with manager Chubby after 24 years together. According to the Telegraph, there was a legal dispute between the golfer and Chubby’s agency ISM. The duo owned several racehorses together, including one named Hoof It, and were often seen out together along with 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke.
Danny Willett & Pete Cowen
Prior to this year’s US PGA Championship, Willett split with the man who helped him to his maiden major title at the Masters less than 18 months earlier to move to cocah Sean Foley, who works with Justin Rose. “Danny decided he wanted a fresh pair of eyes and now he’s working Sean,” Cowen told Telegraph Sport. “There’s been no falling out and we wish him all the best.”
Jason Day & Colin Swatton
After a partnership spanning the entirety of his professional career, Jason Day parted company with caddie Colin Swatton last month. “It was hard because we've been a team for so long,” said the Aussie. “We've been really tight and being so close for very long and we're still close. It's just, he's coming off the bag and going to more of a coaching role now.”