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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Diamond favourite to take over McIlroy bag duties

Friend tops betting for vacant position

Rory McIlroy has parted company with JP Fitzgerald (left)
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The final Major of the season, the USPGA Championship, starts a week on Thursday, but Rory McIlroy has made a surprise caddie switch, the former world number one ending his long relationship with JP Fitzgerald.

McIlroy will have a new caddie in place for round one of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday, with his friend Harry Diamond chalked up as 8-13 favourite by Paddy Power in their 'next permanent caddie' market. Temporary appointments do not count.

Billy Foster, the caddie of Lee Westwood, is second in the betting at 9-4, while Jim Mackay, who recently parted company with Phil Mickelson, is 9-2. The inactive caddie of Tiger Woods, Joe LaCava, is a 7-1 chance.

McIlroy and Fitzgerald were in alliance for almost a decade, winning four Majors together. A great chance for a fifth McIlroy Major is coming in the USPGA at Quail Hollow, where he has won twice before, and he remains 7-1 favourite despite this news.

Both the main tournaments this week are Stateside – the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio and the Barracuda Championship in Nevada. McIlroy, who won the Bridgestone in 2014, is 10-1 third-favourite behind Open champion Jordan Spieth and world number one Dustin Johnson with bet365.

Power – Next permanent R McIlroy caddie: 8-13 H Diamond, 9-4 B Foster, 9-2 J Mackay, 7 J LaCava, 10 M Doran, 14 S Williams, 16 G Lord, C Byrne, R Elliott, T Scott, 20 M Cowan, 40 bar.

Bet365 – Bridgestone Invitational (starts Thursday, Firestone CC, Akron, Ohio): 8 J Spieth, 9 D Johnson, 10 R McIlroy, 16 B Koepka, 18 R Fowler, H Matsuyama, 22 J Rahm, 25 J Rose, J Day, H Stenson, 30 M Kuchar, A Scott, 33 S Garcia, 35 P Casey, 40 bar.

Bet365 – Barracuda Championship (starts Thursday, Montreux CC, Nevada): 22 B Martin, 25 R Garrigus, S Stallings, G DeLaet, 28 S Kaufman, C Hadley, D Summerhays, 30 bar.


McIlroy and Fitzgerald were in alliance for almost a decade, winning four Majors together
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