Clarke: "JP was a wonderful caddie when he was on my bag"

Clarke: "JP was a wonderful caddie when he was on my bag"
 Rory McIlroy and his caddie of nearly six years, JP Fitzgerald. Picture: Fran Caffrey  www.golffile.ie

Rory McIlroy and his caddie of nearly six years, JP Fitzgerald. Picture: Fran Caffrey www.golffile.ie

Darren Clarke has hit back at the armchair critics who say that caddie JP Fitzgerald is holding back Rory McIlroy.

The Dungannon ace has known his former bagman Fitzgerald since they were amateurs and respects him hugely.

And he had no hesitation in slamming TV pundits who are hinting that McIlroy needs a change of caddie to get back to winning majors.

Clarke said: "Caddies are important to us week in and week out and we try to have caddies on the bag that we like and we respect.

"It is not my position to comment on JP but he was a wonderful caddie when he was on my bag, so I don’t listen to what people are saying.

"All I know is that when he was on my bag, he was fantastic and we won the World Golf Championship at Firestone together."

As for McIlroy's struggles at Augusta, Clarke said: "Rory has enough talent to win around here at any stage, that goes without saying.

"He has all the talent in the world, he shot under par today and I watched a little bit of his round yesterday and he didn’t do an awful lot wrong.

"He got a lot of really bad breaks and that’s just Augusta. One or two bad breaks can happen to anybody. It happened to Phil Mickelson."