Karrie Webb and her longtime caddie Mike Paterson have parted after a 15-year combination, one of the longest on tour, as she confronts what could be her last year as a full-time player in 2016.
The change, which Webb flagged after her appearance in Japan last week, adds to the feeling that 2016 will likely be the Australian's last as a touring professional.
Webb, 40, has often said that she will most likely step away from full-time golf beyond the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. A fervent follower of all sports and the Olympics in particular, she is on track to make the team along with Western Australia's Minjee Lee.
Arguably Australia's greatest golfer and a winner of seven women's major championships, she is looking for a new caddie for the 2016 season after the Scot Paterson reached an agreement to go back to the PGA Tour and carry the bag for another Australian, John Senden.
He was on the bag for Webb in 18 of her 41 LPGA Tour wins, and four of her seven majors, and he was the man who Webb leapt into the arms of after she holed out from 100 metres to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2006.
Webb posted an emotional tribute on her Instagram account. ''He has always had my back on the course and off,'' she wrote. "We will forever be the best of friends.''
The Australian has had a difficult year in America, with just three top-10 finishes in 21 tournaments after making swing changes and taking up with a new instructor, Mike McGetrick. Her world ranking has fallen to No. 27, but she has qualified for the season-ending LPGA Tour championship in Florida next week.