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Danny Willett and his caddie Jonathan Smart have split after reports of a mid-tournament bust up at the RBC Heritage last month.

The duo, who have been friends since they were 13, started working together back in 2010 with their partnership yielding four European Tour wins and, of course, the 2016 Masters.

Their teamwork and close relationship was enhanced further at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (below), where Willett gave Smart the week off from manning his bag and the pair went on to win the team tournament by one stroke on 38-under-par.

But since the start of 2017, and particularly over the last couple of months, Willett has seriously struggled.

The 29-year-old missed the cut in his Augusta defence and at the Honda Classic, got knocked out in the group stages of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and finished 69th out of 77 in the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Read more – 14 most explosive player/caddie bust ups

Danny Willett2

That form, it seems, came to a head at the RBC Heritage – the week after The Masters – when Smart left after day one of the tournament. He was reportedly sick of always being made to be the scapegoat after Willett accused him of giving a bad yardage during the first round.

With a member of his management team on the bag, Willett shot a seven-over-par 78 in the second round to miss the cut at Hilton Head and, ahead of the Players Championship – his first start since the row – he confirmed to BBC Sport’s Iain Carter that the pair had split.

“Things are a bit stale and kind of fizzled out,” he said. “It is a shame. But things happen and change, everything happens for a reason. We are still working hard to get the game in shape to get back playing the golf we know we can play.”

The Englishman will have Sam Haywood on the bag at TPC Sawgrass this week. Haywood was Willett’s best man at his wedding and currently caddies full-time for American European Tour pro David Lipsky.

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