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Who Is Rory McIlroy's Caddie?
Rory McIlroy briefly had his friend Niall O'Connor on the bag and they had a lot of success together, winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2022. But this was not a permanent partnership as Rory's usual caddie, Harry Diamond came back on the bag quickly.
O’Connor, a friend who met McIlroy in his late teens, caddied for McIlroy once before, at the 2019 DP World Championship in Dubai. O’Connor played high-level rugby for Ulster and is also a keen golfer.
“Sort of bonded through my love of rugby and him playing and our love of golf,” said McIlroy to PGA Tour.com. “He made the move over to the States a few years ago and (we) kept close.”
This partnership came about because McIlroy's usual caddie, Diamond, was expecting a second child with his wife. Rory McIlroy and Harry Diamond got together in 2017 after McIlroy and JP Fitzgerald split after eight years and four majors together. It was thought to be a short-term alliance but they have been together ever since.
They have teamed up for seven wins and two Ryder Cups but their friendship goes back to their junior days at Holywood Golf Club where Diamond was also an outstanding player, representing Ireland as a youngster. In 2012 he won the West of Ireland Championship which earned him a spot at the Irish Open that year.
As well as being on McIlroy's bag he has also been by his side as his best man at his wedding to Erica Stoll in Co Meath and his early days on McIlroy's bag included the Par 3 Tournament at Augusta.
McIlroy describes the relationship as being particularly close.
"I was an only child and Harry was a big brother. We’re very close. I love having him on the bag. I’m a different person. And I’m never going to give him sh** even if something goes wrong. It would not be worth it.”
The pair are yet to win a major together, something that is repeatedly pointed out with McIlroy having been stuck on four since 2014, but one of their high points came when Diamond talked McIlroy into taking a penalty drop at the 72nd hole before finding the green at Quail Hollow.
“Harry was awesome out there especially that decision on the last,” reflected McIlroy. “I was ready to get in there and try to play that with a lob wedge and he was sort of like, ‘Let's take a step back, let's think about this, where's the best place you're hitting your third from.’
"So he sort of calmed me down, slowed me down a little bit and said, ‘Pal, let's just think about this.’ Ultimately we made the right decision, it's Harry and I's sixth win together and it's probably been our best one. Bay Hill back in 2018 was great because I hadn't won in a while, but this is even better just because Harry's been there every step of the way."
After McIlroy's win at The Players in 2019 he described Diamond as 'one of the best caddies out here, if not the best'.
Off the course Diamond is pretty private, staying away from social media and saying nothing about his work with McIlroy. He is believed to own a number of his own businesses including several bars.
More Rory McIlroy articles
How Much Does Rory McIlroy's Caddie Make?
Needless to say McIlroy is one of the hottest bags in the world. The four-time major winner reportedly paid Fitzgerald 10 per cent of his $9 million he took home that day from his FedEx Cup bonus in 2016 and 10 percent from the Tour Championship earnings. McIlroy picked up $2.25 for his Players win in 2019 and his PGA Tour earnings range from $4-7m a year so, whatever percentage Diamond is on, he'll be earning a lot more than many players. There is also the nice little kicker that they are best friends so you would imagine that there are plenty of bonuses to go with the private jets and sensational lifestyle.
A golfer for most of his life, Sam started playing the game to prove he was the best player out of his father and two brothers.
He quickly became a golf equipment expert and has always been the one family and friends come to for buying advice, and spends a lot of his time putting golf gear, apparel and shoes to the test.
He is a graduate of Swansea University where he studied History and American Studies, and he has been a part of the Golf Monthly team since February 2018. He also previously worked for World Soccer and Rugby World magazines.
A jack of all trades across print and digital formats, Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website. He also oversees all Tour player content as well.
Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five.
Sam is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TS3
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees)
Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚
Putter: Scotty Cameron Circa 62 #6
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