Home Golf Rory McIlroy defends caddie: ‘I know what I’m doing, and so does Harry’

Rory McIlroy defends caddie: ‘I know what I’m doing, and so does Harry’

Rory McIlroy defends caddie: ‘I know what I’m doing, and so does Harry’

Rory McIlroy has had enough of the criticism directed at his caddie, Harry Diamond.

In the weeks since McIlroy’s U.S. Open collapse at Pinehurst, golf analysts have dissected what went wrong for McIlroy, who missed short putts on two of his last three holes that proved the difference in a close battle with eventual champion Bryson DeChambeau. At least two pundits, NBC’s Smylie Kaufman, a former PGA Tour winner, and instructor Hank Haney, took to radio to pass some of the blame onto Diamond, specifically for letting McIlroy hit a 7-iron into the 15th green on Sunday; McIlroy’s ball ended up bounding over the green, leading to bogey.

McIlroy embraced a more holistic approach to process a finish at Pinehurst that included three bogeys over his final four holes.

“I felt like Harry Diamond really should have stepped in on the 15th hole,” Kaufman said. “He did not have the right club in his hands. And I felt like Rory could have taken control of the championship on 15 if he just hits it in the middle of the green. And he hit a good shot. But it just was the wrong club. And never, never was a 7-iron for Rory. Especially with a right flag. If the wind was down off the right, it’s not exactly a flag and a wind condition and the heat to be able to land it in a hula hoop, where you got to hit this kind of soft, spinny, fade 7-iron. It was an 8-iron all day, hit it in the middle of the green.”

Kaufman then added: “I don’t really ever see Harry stepping in a ton. Rory always, if he has a question, he’ll ask, but for the most part, Rory kind of goes and does his thing and he’s got a lot of feel. In my head, as a player, when you execute a shot exactly how you’re supposed to and it ends up in a terrible spot, you have to look at, all right, what happened here. Because that’s what happened at the 15th hole.”

Haney delivered similar comments on his show before taking to Twitter to expound: “I will say this: If Steve Williams was Rory’s caddie, I can promise you he would have never hit a perfect-flight 7-iron that rolled over the green on 15 into a terrible lie because he would have hit an 8-iron and sent it straight up in the air and held the green.”

Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Genesis Scottish Open, his first start since the U.S. Open, McIlroy called Kaufman and Haney’s comments “certainly unfair.”

“Hank Haney has never been in that position,” McIlroy said. “Smylie has been in that position once, and I love Smylie, and he was out there with us on 18. But just because Harry is not as vocal or loud with his words as other caddies, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t say anything and that he doesn’t do anything. I just wish that, you know, these guys that criticize when things don’t go my way, they never say anything good when things do go my way. So, where were they when I won Dubai earlier year or Quail Hollow or the two FedExCups that I’ve won with Harry or the two Ryder Cups or whatever? They are never there to say Harry did such a great job when I win, but they are always there to criticize when we don’t win.

“At the end of the day, they are not there. They are in the in the arena. They are not the ones hitting the shots and making the decisions. Someone said to me once – if you would never take advice from these people, you would never take their criticisms, either. Certainly, wouldn’t go to Hank Haney for advice. I love Smylie, but I think I know what I’m doing, and so does Harry.”

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