John McLaren, the long-standing caddie for Ryder Cup star Paul Casey, has announced he is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the game for the good of his mental health.
The 55-year-old will stay on Casey’s bag for the European Tour’s season ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November before finishing up at his fellow Englishman’s Dubai Desert Classic title defence early next year.
“The accumulation of the last 18 months of travel, the testing, the uncertainty has taken its toll, not only on me, but how I am at home with my family,” McLaren told the PGA Tour website.
“And once that starts to have an impact on my young children and my wife, whom I very much love, then the questions start to arise about the sacrifices relative to what needs to be gained.
“Paul has been open enough with me to acknowledge it and give his blessing and say, ‘I would feel bad to keep you against your will when I care so much about you’ and that basically is such an unheard of thing in our sport because sport is so cutthroat and selfish that if there's any ever any perceived weakness, normally it's exposed and just gotten rid of.”
Casey added: “This is a genuine moment where you've got two guys who are really good friends and one guy going, ‘I need to take a break,’ and the other guy going, ‘OK, I fully support that.’ In this current environment we're in, it just doesn't seem to happen. And nobody seems to speak about it, either.
"This is a brave thing to do. This is Johnny stepping away for an indefinite break, be it six months or whatever it's going to be, because he needs it. His health and well-being is what’s most important.
"We don't know what the future is, but how could you watch your mate suffer and go through that and not recognise he needs to step away? He needs to have a break.”