Phil Mickelson and his longtime caddie Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay are parting ways after 25 years together.

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. — Splits are never easy. Handling them with grace and maturity is even harder.

Just as they once set the standard for stability, Phil Mickelson and longtime caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay are showing that it’s possible to part on good terms. There has been no public ugliness, no name calling, no recriminations. Only love, respect and a recognition that all good things eventually come to an end.

“I’ve cherished these last 25 years together with Bones,” Mickelson said Monday after taking part in a skills challenge at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. “We’ve gone through highs and lows on the course. We’ve gone through highs and lows off the course.”

Mickelson and Mackay announced June 20 that they were ending their working relationship, and the split still seems surreal. Mackay had been on the bag for all but one of Mickelson’s 42 PGA Tour titles, including his five major championships, and their longevity was a rarity in a world where people think nothing of calling it quits after the first argument or hint of discord.

They were a package deal, Lefty and Bones, and the idea of one without the other is going to take some getting used to.


Even for Mickelson.

“Oh, sure, sure it will,” he said when asked if it will feel odd to play a tournament without Mackay at his side.

But they knew it was time, Mickelson added. Both have said there was no one incident that led to their split, just a recognition that each needed a change.

Sure, they could have continued on as they always had, and probably no one would have been the wiser. But that wouldn’t have been right for…