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Rory McIlroy has mounted a robust defence of his caddie Harry Diamond in the wake of criticism of his role in the Irishman’s US Open loss.

Diamond was condemned for not giving McIlroy better support down the stretch as he surrendered a two-shot lead deep into the back nine at Pinehurst to lose out to Bryson DeChambeau.

Tiger Woods’ former coach Hank Haney and tour pro turned commentator Smylie Kaufman were amongst those to publicly criticise Diamond, Haney insisting that McIlroy would not have made the errors he made if he’d had a more experienced looper like Steve Williams on the bag.

Kaufman, meantime, said that Diamond “really should have stepped in” on McIlroy’s club selection on the 15th hole during the final round.

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Ahead of this week’s Genesis Scottish Open – his first appearance since his latest major disappointment – McIlroy rejected those claims, branding the attacks on his right-hand man “unfair”.

“Hank Haney has never been in that position,” said the four-time major champ. “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.

He added: “These guys that criticise when things don’t go my way, they never say anything good when things do go my way.

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“Where were they when I won Dubai earlier year, or Quail Hollow, or the two FedEx Cups 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 criticise 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.

“I 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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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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