(Corrects spelling of Mackay throughout. Deletes reference to two decades in lead. Deletes fifth paragraph regarding MacKay not missing an event since late 1999)
(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson was missing his faithful sidekick on Friday, but was unfazed and stayed in contention to finish the second round two strokes behind leader Rory McIlroy at the WGC-Mexico Championship in Mexico City.
Caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay lasted less than four holes at Club de Golf Chapultepec before calling it a day due to a stomach complaint, but Mickelson did not have to turn far to find a replacement in the form of his brother Tim.
"Bones is invaluable. He is irreplaceable, one of the best in the business, but he’s hurting," five-times major champion Mickelson told Golf Channel after shooting 68 for a seven-under 135 halfway total.
"It’s a difficult course to walk because it is hilly. He had two knees done (in surgery recently) but that’s not the issue. He just hasn’t been feeling well."
Mackay has been Mickelson's caddie since 1992 and has missed only a handful of events in their 25-year relationship,
Mickelson said that as much as he missed Mackay, he had found a capable replacement in his brother.
"He’s a good player in his own right, a scratch player, understands the game and has caddied for many top players.
"He does give me the needle but I think that’s so funny and it keeps me relaxed," the big American left-hander said.
Mickelson did, however, admit there was one drawback from having his brother around.
"The fact he has a few stories about me that I wish he didn’t can be challenging," he said, a broad grin on his face.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)