HONOLULU -- Breakups are never easy. Just ask Luke Donald, who recently parted ways with his caddie.
The unlucky fellow's name: Christian Donald, Luke's big brother.
"It was horrible," Donald said. "Chris has been nothing but a great caddie and brother to me. But after eight years, sometimes it's just time for a change. For both of us, not just me."
Donald said Christian handled the split better than he did. Perhaps that's because Christian got snapped up by Paul Casey, the world's eighth-ranked player.
"I went over to his apartment (in Evanston, Ill.)," Luke said. "It was very emotional. There were some tears, mostly from me. You think: He's going to hate me, he's never going to talk to me again. But he totally understood.
"Now it's new; it's fresh. And anytime you get something new -- a new driver, new putter -- you're excited about it."
Donald's new caddie, John McLaren, has worked with Anders Hansen and Duffy Waldorf. Donald, who failed to make the cut in last week's Sony Open, describes the fellow Brit as "a lively chap with a lively personality."
Donald is embarking on a new year he knows will change his life. Wife Diane is pregnant with their first child, and the caddie switch is evidence he's not satisfied with his career.
Donald finished 13th on the PGA Tour in scoring average last year at 70.01, led the tour in sand save percentage and was fourth in putting average.
But that didn't translate to a huge season. Coming off left wrist surgery, he finished 34th on the money list and did not contend in a major, although he did backdoor a tie for fifth in the British Open by firing a final-round 67. He hasn't won since the 2006 Honda Classic.
"I feel like there's a lot more potential in Luke Donald than the last two years have shown," he said. "You take a view of everything and say: What can I change up? What can I do better?"
Northwestern golf coach Pat Goss recently spent nearly a week in Florida with Donald.
"He has such an air of confidence with his short game," Goss said. "He wants to bring that attitude back to his full swing."