After 25 years, Phil Mickelson and his longtime caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, are parting ways.
“After 25 very rewarding and memorable years, Bones and I have mutually decided to end our player-caddie relationship,” Mickelson said in a statement obtained by Golfweek. “Our decision is not based on a single incident. We just feel it’s the right time for a change.”
Mickelson, 47, said that his brother, Tim, the former head coach at Arizona State who is currently serving as Jon Rahm’s agent, will take over caddie duties for Mickelson for the remainder of the season.
Tim Mickelson subbed for Mackay earlier this season in Mexico after Mackay fell ill with a stomach bug during the second round of the WGC-Mexico Championship.
“Bones is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated caddies in the world,” Mickelson added. “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.
“My relationship and history with Bones far exceeds golf. 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. Amy and I, and our children, will always think of Bones, Jen, Oliver, and Emma as family.
We are looking forward to sharing life and friendship with them forever.”
Bones also commented on the matter, confirming the split was mutual. In a statement, Mackay said: “Player-caddie relationships don’t often last that long. I will always be grateful that I was around to witness so much of Phil’s career. 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.”
Mackay had a double knee replacement last October.
Mickelson won 42 times on the PGA Tour, including five majors, with Mackay on his bag. Their last victory together was the 2013 British Open. Mickelson did not compete in last week’s U.S. Open, the only major he hasn’t won, in order to attend his daughter’s high-school graduation. Mackay made the early-week trip to Erin Hills just in case Mickelson played.
Bones also referenced his “veto,” the ability to override a decision Mickelson is about to make on the golf course, which he gets to exercise once a year. He said he did not use it this year and that he “would like to pass it along to Tim, in all its glory.”
Said Mickelson, in response: “Bones has not used his veto this year and I heard a rumor that he is trying to pass his veto to Tim. For the record, vetoes are non-transferable.”
After the announcement of the Mickelson-Mackay split, rumors circulated that Bones was moving on to Rahm’s bag. Rahm quickly squashed the rumors via a Twitter video.