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via Reuters

via Reuters

Is it about time Rory McIlroy found a different caddie? Harry Diamond, McIlroy’s school friend replaced JP Fitzgerald on the bag seven years ago. Diamond and McIlroy are very close, but that hasn’t shielded the looper from scrutiny. Since McIlroy’s disastrous meltdown in the 2022 Open Championship, many have raised the calls to fire Diamond. 

After last year’s U.S. Open, once again Diamond came under fire for not doing enough. But never has it been this loud after the Pinerhust heartbreak. This time it’s not just fans and opinion makers, but current players and veterans also believe a change is called for. 

Eddie Pepperell believes Rory McIlroy needs a stronger caddie

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Two missed putts on the 16th and 18th did cost McIlroy his fifth major. But the unraveling started on the 15th when the Ulsterman flayed his drive to the native area some 80 yards away from the green. 

Poll of the day

Do you think Rory McIlroy should fire his friend and caddie Harry Diamond?

Yes, it's time for a change

No, loyalty matters

Only if it guarantees a win

Undecided

McIlroy used a 7-iron whereas PepPerell believed a fairway wood or a different club should’ve done the job neatly. Pepperell suggested a firm caddie would’ve dissuaded McIlroy from using a 7-iron on the 205-yard hole.

A strong caddie, a Stevie Williams-type figure, I’m adamant would have could have just got hold of Rory on 15 and just pulled him through that finish. I just think Rory needs somebody who’s capable, like (former caddie) JP (Fitzgerald) probably used to be able to do and help him get across that line,” the two-time DP World Tour winner said in The Chipping Forecast. 

McIlroy’s club choice on the 15th has baffled even the Tiger Woods’s former coach. Hank Haney, too laid it up on the caddie immediately after the U.S. Open.

Hank Haney feels Harry Diamond should’ve taken more responsibility

Wrong club, wrong shot, bad plan.” Hank Haney had only six words reserved for Rory McIlroy’s drive on the 15th. The veteran swing instructor later elaborated that the 7-iron was an unnecessary choice given McIlroy’s Tiger Woods-like ball flight. 

Instead, an 8-iron should’ve done what the Ulsterman was trying to do: stop the ball on the green. “I will say this, if Steve Williams was Rory’s caddie I can promise you he would have never hit a perfect flighted 7 iron that rolled over the green on 15 into a terrible lie,” said Haney. The 68-year-old is not the only one clamoring for an 8-iron.

Smylie Kaufman agrees with Hank Haney

Smylie Kaufman, the on-course analyst who came under sharp scrutiny for misreading the final putt, reflected that Diamond should’ve given better advice to Rory McIlroy. His point of discussion was also the 7-iron on the 15th. It was a ‘huge mistake’, Kaufman said on the Golf’s Subpar podcast

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The one-time PGA Tour winner explained, “[N]ever, 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.

Per the former PGA Tour pro, should he have used an 8-iron and hit it middle of the green, Rory McIlroy would’ve been in the driver’s seat. Instead his 15th opened the floodgates of disaster. 

via Imago

Despite this, it’s unlikely Rory McIlroy will take any knee-jerk decision. Diamond is well-respected among his peers, and was a golfer himself. Per Caddie Network at one point Diamond was a +2.5 handicapper. He also won the 2012 West of Ireland Championship which earned him a spot at the Irish Open. 

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Little wonder that Rory McIlroy has defended his caddie so vehemently in the past. The four-time Major winner regretted that Diamond was always an ‘easy target’ getting unfairly criticized by fans and pundits alike. Ahead of the Open Championship, firing his caddie might also cause some needless controversy. Let’s also not forget that they are childhood buddies and McIlroy feels comfortable around Harry Diamond.