News & Opinion

Breakup on Tour: Mickelson, Mackay split

Phil Mickelson and Jim “Bones” Mackay, who formed one of the longest-running player-caddie teams in PGA Tour history, have called it quits after 25 years.

In separate statements issued Tuesday, both referred to the breakup as having been “mutually decided.”

The split comes one week after Phil Mickelson skipped the U.S. Open to attend his daughter Amanda’s high school graduation ceremony in California, where the oldest of his three children gave the valedictorian speech. Mackay made a scouting trip to Erin Hills, site of the U.S. Open – the only major championship that Mickelson has not won – in the event that Mickelson might be able to play. Mackay did not caddie for another player while in Wisconsin.

Mickelson, who turned 47 on June 16, has won 42 PGA Tour events, including five major championships. Mackay has been on the bag since 1992, looping for all of Mickelson’s victories except for the first, when Mickelson won the 1991 Northern Telecom Open as an amateur. Mickelson hasn’t won on Tour since claiming the Claret Jug in the 2013 British Open at Muirfield, Scotland.

Mickelson said that his younger brother, Tim, will step in as caddie for the rest of the season. Tim Mickelson, the former men’s golf coach at Arizona State, serves as the agent for Tour rookie Jon Rahm, who played for the Sun Devils. The younger Mickelson stepped in for Mackay earlier this year in Mexico City when Mackay fell ill with a stomach virus during the second round of the WGC Mexico Championship. Mackay underwent double-knee replacement surgery on Oct. 19, the same day that Mickelson faced surgery for a sports hernia.

Mackay and Mickelson issued separate statements:

Mackay: “After an amazing 25-year run, Phil and I have mutually decided to go our separate ways. 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. 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. I do want to say for the record that I did not use my ‘veto’ this year. I would like to pass it along to Tim, in all its glory.”

Mickelson: “After 25 very rewarding and memorable years, Bones and I have mutually decided to end our player-caddie relationship. Our decision is not based on a single incident. We just feel it’s the right time for a change. Bones is one of the most knowledgable (sic) 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. 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. My brother Tim will be on my bag for the rest of the year. 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.”