Pros advice

Luke Donald baffled by surprise caddie split

Johnny ‘Long Socks’ McLaren has been caddying for Luke Donald these past six years but the pair sensationally split this week, leaving the former World No.1 utterly baffled.

Although McLaren has recently said he expects Donald to return to the top of the World Rankings, it hasn’t stopped the £300,000-a-year earning caddie from expressing a desire to no longer work alongside the Englishman. This is despite not having another bag to return to.

So, is McLaren’s sudden quitting a mystery? It would certainly appear so. There has been rumour that Adam Scott is sniffing around for a new caddie and that ‘Long Socks’ could be the ideal candidate for fill the void, but McLaren has moved to quash those whisperings. For now it looks as though he’s just leaving the game for a while.

However, it has left Donald, currently contesting the British Masters, entirely baffled.

“At the end of [last month’s Deutsche Bank Championship in] Boston, John told me, ‘I feel it’s time to move on’. I was a little surprised,” Donald said. “We were starting to make a bit of a comeback, finding some form. John is a strong-willed guy with his own opinions. He is a great caddie with whom I enjoyed some wonderful times.”

The pair were certainly distinctive, with McLaren sporting those rolled down stripy socks and towering over Donald like a flashy monolith. And the two were good together. As soon as he took the caddying job, things began to turn around. Luke Donald went from languishing outside of the world’s top 30 and straight to World No.1 in less than 18 months.

But now, after leaving his long-time coach Pat Goss last year, Donald has slumped back down into 66th without a win on the two main tours in over three years.

Whether this contributed to McLaren walking is of course a mystery also. But right now Donald has a chance to rebuild with a new caddie and hopefully begin that arduous – though very doable – climb back to up to the summit of the golfing mountaintop.

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