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Inside Rory McIlroy’s Dynamic Friendship With His Caddie Harry Diamond

Rory McIlroy is one of the most well-known, well-paid, and all-around best players on the PGA Tour. He didn’t get this way on his own, however. Throughout his career, McIlroy has had the good fortune of having talented caddies carry his bag. His current caddie, Harry Diamond, has an especially great history with McIlroy.

Rory McIlroy’s history with Harry Diamond

Before McIlroy was a regular PGA favorite, he and Diamond were best friends. They met playing golf at Hollywood Golf Club in Ireland. In 2005, the two traveled across the country to compete in the West of Ireland Championship. Diamond was 19 years old and McIlroy was 15.

McIlroy shot 68 and 67 to become the second-leading qualifier; Diamond shot 70 and 71. After the qualifier, the future caddie lost in the first round. McIlroy won the event, becoming its youngest champion ever. Following their entrance onto the scene, Diamond continued to play in amateur tournaments. He even won the 2012 title at his home course in Belvoir Park.

Through the years, McIlroy and Diamond’s friendship persisted. So much so that McIlroy made Diamond the best man at his wedding.

How Diamond became McIlroy’s caddie

From 2008-16, McIlroy’s caddie was JP Fitzgerald. Despite his many successes with Fitzgerald by his side, McIlroy wanted a change. So he fired Fitzgerald, commenting that “sometimes to preserve a personal relationship you have to sacrifice a professional one.” The move was quite controversial, as Fitzgerald was viewed by many as an instrumental part of McIlroy’s rise to prominence on the PGA Tour. 

Following Fitzgerald’s exit, McIlroy needed a new caddie. So he turned to his best friend, Diamond. And the caddie has filled the role ever since. 

What Diamond brings to McIlroy’s game

Rumors allege that Diamond is little more than a “bag carrier.” And it’s true that McIlroy’s ascent in the golfing world has slowed somewhat in recent years. But despite the gossip surrounding the duo, Diamond brings a lot of insight into McIlroy’s game.

“Harry is thorough and meticulous in his course prep, diligently analyzing all of Rory’s statistics,” reports Bunkered, “… He looks at where to miss, where to attack, where to be cautious, and sometimes does so a good few weeks in advance.” 

Here’s what McIlroy had to say about Diamond’s performance as his caddie: “Harry is an accomplished golfer and he has turned into one of the best caddies out here, if not the best … Having him by my side out there is so good, and it’s so comforting.”

While some may look at the duo’s friendship as a potential point of bias for McIlroy, it can also make him better. There’s something to be said for giving a player comfort on the golf course. If Diamond’s camaraderie helps put McIlroy at ease while competing, it may help him play better in certain situations.