Rory McIlroy is to keep best friend Harry Diamond on as his caddie in 2018 as he confirms busy schedule in run up to the Masters.
News of the continuation of the partnership was first reported in the Guardian, which confirmed that Diamond will continue as McIlroy’s bag-man in 2018 after he returns from a three month break.
Diamond, who is a successful amateur in his own right, first made his appearance at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational after McIlroy’s split with long-term caddie JP Fitzgerald, and has so far caddied seven times for the four-time major champion.
McIlroy split with Fitzgerald after nine years in July, and had said “sometimes to preserve a personal relationship you might have to sacrifice a professional one and that was sort of the decision I came to in the end. I was getting very hard on him on the golf course and I didn’t want to treat him like that.”
Since then, he appointed Diamond on an initial short-term basis in August, and although McIlroy said that he had “inundated” with approaches from potential caddies, it has now transpired he will keep his best-man on the bag.
Given the success of the partnership, the news doesn’t come as a huge surprise. When asked how Diamond did on day one as a caddie at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, Rory had told Sky Sports; “(Harry) kept me in good spirits out there and it’s great to have my best mate on the bag.”
“It was good. It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything in a yardage book but now I’m taking on a little bit more responsibility myself. There were a couple of times I probably should have hit another club but that’s on me, that’s not on anyone else.”
They came 5th that week, and followed it up with a mixed bag of results that included a 2nd place finish at the British Masters supported by Sky Sports, losing out to Paul Dunne. His last appearance of the year was at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, where he produced a disappointing T63.
McIlroy will make his return at the Abu Dhabi Championship from January 18-21st following a three-month break as he attempts to recover from a rib injury which forced him to miss several events this year.
It’s the start of a very busy period for McIlroy, who has already committed to six other tournaments (excluding the two WGC events) in the run up to the Masters – which is the only major he is yet to win. If he does compete in the two WGC events, that would see him competing in seven events in a row leading up to the Masters (April 5-8) he would be competing in.
So where else is he going to be playing? The 28-year-old World No.10 will tee up in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic from Jan 25-28 after Abu Dhabi, and one lucky winner will be able to play in the Pro-Am with him and pop-star Niall Horan. Find out how to enter here
McIlroy will then make his first appearance at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am from February 8-11, followed by the Genesis Open (Feb 15-18), the Honda Classic (Feb 22-25), the Valspar Championship (March 8-11) and the Arnold Palmer Invitaitonal (March 15-18).
The WGC Mexico will take place from March 1-4, while the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play is being played from March 21-25.