Because of their close relationship to top golfers on the PGA Tour, caddies have a perspective that is like no other. Some of the best golfers have even been known to work with the same caddie for years, and behind every great golfer there is a great caddie. One caddie that is currently under the spotlight is Harry Diamond, who has been working with Rory McIlroy since 2017.
A Belfast Telegraph feature on Diamond notes that he and McIlroy have been friends since childhood, growing up together in the Northern Ireland town of Holywood. Diamond was even on bag duty at the 2005 Irish Open, when McIlroy was playing in the tournament for the first time. Furthermore, Diamond was also the best man at McIlroy’s wedding to Erica Stoll in 2018.
Diamond replaced J.P. Fitzgerald, who had been McIlroy’s caddie during his most successful period. This included his U.S. Open title in 2011, his two PGA Championship wins (2012 and 2014), and his victory at the Open Championship in 2014. However, the relationship started to falter after McIlroy got injured. McIlroy famously ruptured his ankle ligaments in 2015, which meant that he couldn’t defend his Open Championship title. The Northern Irishman has been plagued with injuries ever since, even suffering a rib injury in early 2017. The injuries resulted in a lack of form that served as a factor that led to McIlroy splitting with Fitzgerald.
“Right now I just needed to mix things up a little bit,” McIlroy explained. “J.P. understood that and we’re still all good.”
McIlroy then turned to his old friend Harry Diamond and the two have been working towards another major. Another reason for hiring Diamond was the experience he also possesses as a golfer. Diamond once won the 2012 West of Ireland Championship to get a place in the Irish Open and at one point had a handicap of +2.5. The Golf Channel reports that Diamond had experience at the Royal Portrush, which McIlroy admitted to leaning on for his preparations for this year’s British Open.
“He’s just as comfortable on this golf course as I am,” stated McIlroy. “I think with his experience around here, my ear will be a little sharper to what he has to say.” McIlroy was one of the favorites going into the British Open with many predicting that it would be his fifth major title.
Unfortunately, McIlroy missed the cut after a poor start. But all wasn’t lost, as McIlroy would go on to win the PGA Tour’s FedExCup and the $15 million that came with it.
McIlroy credits Diamond with making him more comfortable on the golf course and knowing when exactly to coach him vs. when to distract him in the heat of a tournament. Finally, McIlroy stated his belief that Diamond knows his swing as much as he does, lending a handy extra set of eyes.
Overall, Diamond and McIlroy’s current relationship indicates that their partnership will continue for a long time. With Diamond’s wealth of experience, he could guide McIlroy back to winning ways very soon.