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Rory McIlroy defends his caddie Harry Diamond against criticism

Rory McIlroy on the course

May 30, 2019; Dublin, OH, USA; Rory McIlroy looks on during the first round of the 2019 Memorial golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy on Wednesday spoke with the media for the first time since blowing the US Open last month, and he defended his caddie from criticism.

McIlroy’s caddie Harry Diamond received some criticism for not helping his golfer perform better over the final holes of the US Open at Pinehurst No. 2. McIlroy missed extremely short putts on 16 and 18 to blow his lead, opening up the door to Bryson DeChambeau to win it. But the main area where Diamond was criticized was for letting McIlroy hit a 7-iron on the 15th hole, which many critics felt was overdoing it.

Hank Haney, who is best known for coaching Tiger Woods, criticized Diamond via X at the time, saying an 8-iron would have been more appropriate.

Former pro player Smylie Kaufman, who is now an analyst for Golf Channel, also criticized Diamond.

“I felt like Harry Diamond really should have stepped in on the 15th hole,” Kaufman said on Golf’s Supbar show. “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.”

McIlroy was asked about the criticism ahead of the Scottish Open. He defended Diamond.

“You know, it’s certainly unfair. Hank Haney has never been in that position. 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,” McIlroy said. “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, you would never — 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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