Sports News

Justin Thomas announces surprising caddie split ahead of Masters

justin thomas caddie jim bones mackay

Justin Thomas and caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay during the 2022 Hero World Challenge.

Getty Images

Justin Thomas will play in his ninth career Masters Tournament next week but will do so with a different person carrying his clubs. The two-time major winner announced Wednesday that he and caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay have “parted ways.”

“While incredibly difficult for me to say, Bones and I have parted ways,” Thomas said in a statement posted to social media. “I’m going to be forever thankful for him joining me on the bag in 2021. The things we’ve been able to accomplish together — the PGA Championship in 2022, the Presidents Cup, the Ryder Cups were all unforgettable experiences. His wisdom on and off the course has been a blessing during a tough stretch of my career and he was there every step of the way. 

“I know there are great things coming for both of us down the road. I wish him the best of luck and will always count him and his family amongst my friends.”

While there is always more to the story than a simple screenshot, the timing is surprising, as Thomas will now take on Augusta National with someone likely carrying his clubs for the first time. Mackay, who is widely regarded as one of the best caddies in the game, is already in Augusta working as an on-course reporter for NBC at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. 

Thomas and Mackay worked together for about 2.5 years, after Mackay left a television job for the looping gig full-time. He had caddied for Phil Mickelson for decades before splitting in 2017, after which Mackay then worked for a few years as an on-course reporter for NBC and Golf Channel. On multiple occasions, he told the story where he told his wife that Thomas was one of the only players who he would leave the TV role for. 

Ultimately, it paid off for both of them in a major way when Thomas won his second PGA Championship in thrilling fashion at Southern Hills, less than a year into their partnership. It was a Saturday evening pep talk from Mackay during that tournament that Thomas cited as a turning point.

“I just needed to let some steam out,” Thomas said. “I didn’t need to bring my frustration and anger home with me. I didn’t need to leave the golf course in a negative frame of mind.”

The two made a habit of decompressing after most rounds with range time or putting and chipping practice. They did so just last month at the Players Championship, working with Thomas’ father, Mike, on the range until sundown. A player’s job isn’t over when the round is over, and neither is a caddie’s. 

“I felt like I’d played terrible,” Thomas said of that long ago Saturday night in Oklahoma. “And [Bones] was just like, ‘Dude, you’ve got to be stop being so hard on yourself. You’re in contention every single week we’re playing. I’ve had a lot of chances to win tournaments, and it’s a hard golf course; it’s a major championship. You don’t have to be perfect. Just don’t be hard on yourself. Just kind of let stuff happen, and everything is trending in the right direction. So just keep staying positive so that good stuff can happen.’ I left here in an awesome frame of mind.”

As Thomas noted in his statement, the past 12 months have been a trying time for his golf. He missed the cut in three of the four major championships last summer, struggling with his ball-striking to the point that he missed qualifying for the FedEx Cup Playoffs and nearly missed playing in the Ryder Cup. In the end, he was chosen as a captain’s pick, winning 1.5 points in what was a European blowout victory. His form this season has been much more consistent, even contending on a few occasions, but it has not yet led to a win.

As for who will caddie for him next week, Thomas did not clarify that in his statement.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button