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Five of the best player/caddie partnerships in professional golf

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tosses a golf ball to JP Fitzgerald on the second hole during the second round of the 2017 Masters

Rory McIlroy enjoyed a hugely successful 9-year partnership with JP Fitzgerald which came to an end this week ahead of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.

McIlroy, who won four major titles with Fitzgerald, will now play this week at Firestone and next week's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow with best friend Harry Diamond as his bagman.

Fitzgerald was an integral factor in McIlroy's success since turning professional, teaming up with the 28-year-old back in 2008 and helping the European Ryder Cup star reach world No 1.

Rory explains 'tough' caddie split
Rory explains 'tough' caddie split

Rory McIlroy has opened up on the reasons why he has parted company with long-time caddie JP Fitzgerald.

McIlroy's first major title came at Congressional in 2011 at the US Open, winning by eight strokes. He repeated the winning scoreline the following year at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

In 2014 McIlroy added two majors within a month of each other with the first coming at Royal Liverpool at The Open followed swiftly by a second PGA title at Valhalla, where he held off Phil Mickelson by one stroke.

However 2017 has largely been disrupted by a mixture of injury and adapting to manufacture changes in his golf equipment.

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Rory McIlroy outlines the reasons behind his decision to part company with his caddie of nine years, JP Fitzgerald, ahead of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

We take a look at five further excellent player-caddie combinations.

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Tiger Woods and Steve Williams

Woods made his big breakthrough with his historic Masters win in 1997 with Mike "Fluff" Cowan on his bag, but that proved to be their only major success together as Woods fired the veteran bagman, apparently for revealing his earnings in a magazine interview in 1999.

Williams, who had previously had spells with the likes of Ian Baker-Finch and Greg Norman, was on the bag for Ray Floyd, who gave permission for the New Zealander to speak to Woods after being approached by Butch Harmon.

Tiger Woods of the USA and his caddie Steve Williams

He was hired after a short meeting with the 23-year-old, and Williams would go on to become one of the most recognisable caddies of all time, and certainly one of the most successful as he partnered Woods to his next 13 major championship victories.

And, after being dumped by Woods in 2011, Williams would add another major to his collection when he teamed up with Adam Scott to win the 2013 Masters, and he continues to be on the bag for the Aussie in major tournaments.

Phil Mickelson and Jim Mackay

Mackay began caddieing for Mickelson in his rookie PGA Tour season as a professional, and the pair would enjoy a hugely-successful 25-year partnership which few could envisage ever coming to an end.

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - JULY 28:  Phil Mickelson of the United States talks with caddie Jim 'Bones' Mackay on the 13th tee during the first round of the 2016 PGA

After being on the bag for Fred Couples, who gave Mackay the nickname "Bones", Mackay accompanied Mickelson for 41 PGA Tour victories, five major championship titles, and 11 consecutive Ryder Cups.

But the pair had not added to their tally since Mickelson's memorable win at Muirfield in the 2013 Open, and they parted by mutual agreement with the left-hander deciding to hire his brother, Tim, for the remainder of the season.

Nick Faldo and Fanny Sunesson

Sunesson became one of the first full-time female caddies on the European Tour when she linked up with Howard Clark in the mid-80s and carried his bag in the 1989 Ryder Cup, but she was lured by Faldo later that year when the pair met in Australia.

Nick Faldo and Fanny Sunesson

Faldo won his first two majors alongside Andy Prodger, but he felt Sunesson's character would be of huge benefit and it proved an inspired decision as he retained the Masters and then won The Open in their first season together.

Sunesson's regular shouts of "stand still please" were a familiar sound all over the world as the pair went on to win two more majors together before they split after 10 years, with Sunesson picking up the bag of fellow-Swede Henrik Stenson before she retired in 2012.

Tom Watson and Bruce Edwards / Alfie Fyles

Bruce Edwards was Watson's faithful caddie from 1973 until 1989 and, after a brief stint with Greg Norman, he resumed his partnership with Watson for a further 11 years before the effects of ALS took his life at the age of just 49.

Tom Watson of the United States walks to the final green with hi caddie Alfie Fyles during the final round of the 112th Open

But although Watson won eight major titles, Edwards was on his bag for only two of them - the 1978 PGA Championship and the 1982 US Open. Watson's two Masters wins came before Augusta National allowed players to use their own caddies, while he employed Fyles to caddie for him whenever he played in Europe.

Fyles, who grew up close to this year's Open venue at Royal Birkdale, partnered Watson to all five of his Open victories and his life on the course was documented in the book "Fore", which followed the adventures of Fyles and three of his fellow caddies from the Southport area who won 10 Opens between them.

Jack Nicklaus and Angelo Argea

Argea was arguably the most-recognisable caddie of all time, a tall man with a grey afro similar in style to legendary boxing promoter Don King, but he was also one of the most successful having enjoyed 20 years on the bag for Jack Nicklaus.

Jack Nicklaus and Angelo Argea

The Golden Bear had Argea for company for a remarkable 44 of his 73 career victories, although his duties did not include working out yardage, giving advice on club selection or reading greens.

Nicklaus took care of all that and used Argea primarily for moral support, constantly being reminded he was the undisputed best player in the world, and Argea was among the inaugural group of inductees into the Caddie Hall of Fame in 1999 - six years before his death.

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