THE end of the 25 years long golfing relationship between Phil Mickelson and his caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay came as a bombshell to fans and industry insiders alike last week and the reasons remain a little fuzzy at best.
The enduring partnership between “Lefty” and “Bones” was a part of modern golf folklore and their often lengthy discussions and debates about a particular shot were a feature of many a golf tournament.
Mickelson’s “adventurous” golfing style seemed perfectly in tune with having a long suffering caddie named “Bones”- you just couldn’t make it up.
MacKay oversaw much of Mickelson’s stellar career, including five major victories, two WGC wins, 11 Ryder Cups and 11 Presidents Cup appearances.
But Bones also oversaw Mickelson’s record six US Open runners-up finishes and we were beginning to suspect that maybe that had something to do with the bust up …. that Bones wasn’t all that delighted with Mickelson’s decision to withdraw from the US Open at Erin Hills the previous week in favour of attending his daughter’s graduation.
It was a big call by Mickelson, and many say a very understandable one for a devoted family man, but remember a US Open win is the only thing missing from a Mickelson’s career grand slam.
In statements last week both parties said they had just come to the realisation it was “time for a change”, and the US Open was seen as perfect timing since they first hooked up in qualifying before the 1992 US Open.
You can read their statements below but we also have this new video of Mickelson talking on the Golf Channel in the US this week.
Asked specifically “why was it time for a change?” Mickelson responded with a very politician-like deflection.
“I think that rather than looking back and saying what happened and so forth … we had 25 years that we cherish together,” the three time Masters winner said.
You can see Mickelson’s full response in this video, and as we said we also have their original statements below.
And to stress, the speculation above about any division between the two over the US Open decision is purely that, speculation.
[Some people are having problems playing the embedded video below. Whilst we sort that out, the original is here ]
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 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 andI heard a rumor that he is trying to pass his veto to Tim. For the record, vetoes are non-transferable.
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.
Thank you Phil.
Jim Bones Mackay