Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

After opening his bid to win the Claret Jug with an adventurous two-under 69, Rory McIlroy responded to Butch Harmon’s criticism of him. 

Sky Sports Golf analyst Harmon, coach to some of the world’s top golfers, described four-time major champ Rory as ‘a robot’ on the eve of the championship. 

“I would like to see him start playing golf and stop playing golf-swing,” said Harmon. “He looks like a robot out there when I see him practice putting.

“This is a young kid who still one of the best players in the world.

• Disappointing start to Spieth’s defence of the Claret Jug

• Sandy Lyle’s putter at Carnoustie needs to be seen to be believed

“He needs to understand that – forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf.”

McIlroy, whose opening salvo at Carnoustie left him three shots off the first round lead set by American Kevin Kisner, said after his round that he doesn’t “take any notice of the criticism”. 

Butch Harmon

“I like Butch,” he said. “Definitely, I would say I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that’s mechanical. 

• Gary Player weighs in on Tiger Woods’ Carnoustie win prospects

“It’s easy to make comments when you don’t know what’s happening. I haven’t spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn’t know what I’m working on in my swing. He doesn’t know what’s in my head. So it’s easy to make comments and easy to speculate.”

Despite being struck down by a dose of the ‘lefts’ off the tee – he hit just four of 15 fairways – McIlroy scrambled impressively, hitting 14 of his 18 greens in regulation.


author headshot

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

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses