Amid criticism of his caddie, Rory McIlroy didn’t pull any punches in his defense at 2024 Genesis Scottish Open

The last time we saw Rory McIlroy, he was driving away from Pinehurst No. 2 after gifting the U.S. Open to Bryson DeChambeau thanks to three bogeys over his final four holes, two of which were results of short misses with the putter.

He makes his return to the PGA Tour this week at the 2024 Genesis Scottish Open, a tournament he won in spectacular fashion last year with a stinger 2-iron into The Renaissance Club’s final green.

For the first time since his crushing defeat, the Northern Irishman spoke with the media Wednesday and faced many questions regarding that fateful afternoon in North Carolina.

But among the inquiries about the final hour of the USGA’s flagship event, McIlroy was asked about the online criticism his caddie, Harry Diamond, has received since their last time on the course.

For some context, Hank Haney tweeted this a few days after DeChambeau’s win:

And Smylie Kaufman said this during an appearance on Golf’s Subpar Podcast:

“I felt like (caddie) Harry Diamond really should have stepped in on the 15th hole.

“He did not have the right club in his hands. And I felt like Rory could have taken control of the championship on 15 if he just hits it in the middle of the green. And he hit a good shot. But it just was the wrong club.

“And never, never was a 7-iron for Rory. Especially with a right flag. If the wind was down off the right, it’s not exactly a flag and a wind condition and the heat to be able to land it in a hula hoop, where you got to hit this kind of soft, spinny, fade 7-iron. It was an 8-iron all day, hit it in the middle of the green.”

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McIlroy didn’t pull any punches coming to his looper’s defense.

“You know, it’s certainly unfair. Hank Haney has never been in that position. 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. I just wish that, you know, these guys that criticize when things don’t go my way, they never say anything good when things do go my way.

“So where were they when I won Dubai earlier this 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 criticize when we don’t win.

“At the end of the day, they are not there. They are not the ones hitting the shots and making the decisions. Someone said to me once, you would never — if you would never take advice from these people, you would never take their criticisms, either. 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.”

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland smiles on the second tee during the Pro-Am prior to the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club on July 10, 2024, in North Berwick, Scotland. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

McIlroy started working with Diamond in 2017 after his split with JP Fitzgerald, who he was paired with for eight years. The two have known each other since their junior days at Holywood Golf Club back home in Northern Ireland.

The world No. 2 is the betting favorite in North Berwick, and no doubt enters the week with added motivation and a chip on his shoulder.

We’ll see if he and his caddie can silence the critics this weekend.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek