By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 07/01/18 7:34pm
Justin Thomas will have Phil Mickelson’s former caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, on his bag for his defence of the Sony Open in Honolulu next week.
Thomas has had his father, Mike, as his caddie for the final two rounds of the Sentry Tournament of Champions after regular bagman Jimmy Johnson was unable to continue due to a foot problem.
The reigning PGA and FedExCup champion has now turned to Mackay for help at the Waialae Country Club next week after Johnson returned home for treatment.
“Obviously this isn’t a great place to walk when you’ve been in a boot for a while,” Thomas told the Golf Channel. “He thought he could go and he went the first two days and he was just a little slower walking.
“I told him, ‘Look I’d rather you take as much time as you need to get it better and make sure that you’re fresh come LA, Match Play, Masters, whatever it is, I want him to be 100 per cent again.”
Mackay has not caddied on Tour since he parted company with Mickelson after the FedEx St Jude Classic last summer, marking the end of a hugely-successful 25-year partnership with the five-time major champion.
He turned down offers to caddie for other PGA Tour stars and signed a deal with NBC and Golf Channel to be their on-course reporter, a role he is fulfilling at Kapalua this week.
But he has jumped at the chance to caddie for Thomas, who stormed to the Sony Open title last year and fired a sensational 59 on the opening day before going on to beat Justin Rose by seven shots with a winning score of 27 under par.
“I think the world of Justin and I’m looking forward to working with him,” said Mackay, whose only experience of the Waialae course was when he caddied there for Scott Simpson 28 years ago, as Mickelson never played in the Sony Open.
Thomas was not the only player forced into a change of caddies in Kapalua as Kevin Kisner’s bagman, Duane Bock, suffered a knee injury.
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Kisner called close friend and fellow PGA Tour star Scott Brown, who jumped on a short flight from the Bahamas to carry the bag for the remainder of the tournament.