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Justin Thomas, 'Bones' Mackay split ahead of the Masters

April 03, 2024

Justin Thomas and caddie Jim 'Bones' Mackay study a shot during the 2023 Masters.

Patrick Smith

Justin Thomas announced that he and caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay have parted ways ahead of the Masters.

Thomas, 30, took to social media to explain the decision:

“While incredibly difficult for me to say, Bones and I have parted ways. I’m going to be forever thankful for Jim 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.”

Mackay first worked for Thomas when Thomas’ then-caddie Jimmy Johnson suffered a series of health issues in 2020. Thomas eventually split with Johnson in the fall of 2021 and made Mackay his permanent loop. The highlight of their work together was the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills, in which Thomas defeated Will Zalatoris in a playoff to capture his second Wanamaker Trophy. After the victory, Thomas credited Mackay for a pep talk he delivered over the weekend.

“I’m fully confident in saying that I wouldn’t be standing here if he didn’t give me that, wasn’t necessarily a speech, but a talk, if you will,” Thomas said. “I just needed to let some steam out. 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. I played pretty well for shooting four over and I felt like I’d played terrible. And he (Mackay) 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. 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.’”

“You know, I've been so spoiled out here,” Mackay said after the win at Southern Hills. “It's amazing, you know, an incredibly special thing for me. I love caddying. It's the greatest job in the world. It's been really good to me. I've been crazy lucky. It just means a tremendous amount to be out here with someone … you know, all the guys I've caddied for I'm grateful, but I've just had a great run out here as a caddie. I'm grateful for it.”

However, Thomas struggled during the 2023 season and failed to make it to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and though his play has improved this campaign he’s continued to have issues on the greens.

Prior to joining Thomas, Mackay spent the previous four years as an on-course analyst for Golf Channel/NBC. He is perhaps best known for his 20-year partnership with Phil Mickelson, with the duo winning five majors together. Mackay has also worked with Larry Mize, Scott Simpson and Curtis Strange.

Matt Minister, who previously worked with Patrick Cantlay, will be on Thomas’ bag for next week’s Masters. This will be Thomas’ ninth career start at Augusta National, where he has two top-10 finishes.