Darren Clarke and caddie Phil “Wobbly” Morbey will be hoping they don’t pick up where they left off when they are re-united after a three-year haitus in next week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Following his sacking of Open winning bagman John Mulrooney in Abu Dhabi recently, Clarke immediately made a move to hook up temporarily with the man who helped him end a five-year drought at the 2008 BMW Asian Open in Shanghai and then capture the KLM Open later that season.
According to agency reports, they will be working together for just three weeks before Morbey goes back to full time employer Danny Willett. It’s no huge surprise. After 11 months and two victories together, their previous partnership ended in tears at the Honda Classic in March 2009 with Morbey giving Clarke his marching orders after just 36 holes.
“Wobbly and I just had a little bit of a disagreement over something,” said Clarke, who had to get Mick Doran to stand in for the last two rounds.
Caddying for Clarke has been described as one of the toughest jobs in the world and in the same league as salt miner, killer bee remover and alligator wrangler.
“They are all on a par, those jobs,” chuckled Billy Foster during his last stint on Clarke’s bag. “But when you work for a guy for such a long time you have mutual respect for each other. He is a very generous man and he’s always been very fair. He very rarely blames me. He is very honest.
“Some players get on the caddie when the caddie doesn’t deserve it but he has always been fair. He just expects you to give 100 percent and I try to never give anything less than 100 percent. We all make mistakes and I am big enough to stand up and accept the odd mistake, but he knows I try my best every week.”
Since Clarke and Morbey split in 2009, the Ulsterman has had a string of caddies - Doran, John Graham, Gordon Faulkner, Mick Boddy and Brendan McCurtain.
“Sometimes it is difficult to gee him up and you have to be a bit of a Jack Russell and keep gnarling at him,” Foster once said.
Morbey will have his own theories about how to get the best out of The Open champion, who has fallen from 30th to 54th in the world since he won at Royal St George’s, racking up four missed cuts and a best finish of 20th (not counting 12th in the 12-man Nedbank Golf Challenge) in the 12 events he has played since last July.
They will be together for at least three events and head from Tucson to West Palm Beach for the Honda Classic - scene of their 2009 divorce - before moving down the coast to Miami for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at TPC Doral.
Morbey told Sky Sports: ”Darren and I go back a long way, so I’ve known him for ages and I’m looking forward to the three-week spell.”