Smylie Kaufman blames Rory McIlroy's caddy for US Open failure

“I don’t really ever see Harry stepping in a ton.“- he said.

by Sead Dedovic
Smylie Kaufman blames Rory McIlroy's caddy for US Open failure
© Sam Greenwood/Getty Images Sport

Formerly a great golfer, now an NBC Sports analyst, Smylie Kaufman commented on Rory McIlroy's performance at this year's US Open, which will be talked about for years to come. The Northern Irishman had a great chance to win a Major after a ten-year hiatus, but unfortunately, the pressure took its toll, and McIlroy lost his chance to win the Major unbelievably, with his frustrations evident immediately after the tournament ended. 

McIlroy didn't even want to step out onto the golf course, to congratulate his opponent, visibly disappointed after such a day. The 34-year-old golfer admitted the next day, with a cool head, that it was one of the toughest losses of his career, emphasizing that he needed some time to recover from defeat. 

Rory made several mistakes, with many remembering his error on the par-3 15th. 

Kaufman, in conversation with GOLF's Subpar, expressed his opinion, believing that Rory's caddy, Harry Diamond, could have changed a lot, especially on the 15th hole. He felt that McIlroy didn't have the right clubs in his bag, which could have turned the tide of the final round.

“I felt like Harry Diamond really should have stepped in on the 15th hole. [McIlroy] 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. He hit a good shot. But it just was the wrong club.“- he said.

Kaufman stresses that the 7-iron was not the best option for McIlroy. He thinks that the 8-iron would have been a better choice instead. He emphasizes this as a huge mistake, which eventually cost Rory the victory.

“Never, never was a 7-iron [the right choice] 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. I would say that was a huge, huge mistake."- he continued.

Following the US Open, rumors immediately surfaced about McIlroy and his caddy, focusing on whether they would continue their partnership or if the Northern Irishman would end the venture with him. McIlroy, a golfer who has struggled to achieve his goals for years, may experience increased frustrations after the US Open, potentially leading to changes. The 34-year-old has remained silent on the matter, concentrating on his next tournament, the Scottish Open. 

Kaufman isn't impressed with Diamond, believing Rory takes charge without significant help from his caddy. Kaufman thinks that if you do everything required and the outcome isn't positive, you need to question what the problem is.

“I don’t really ever see Harry stepping in a ton. Rory always, if he has a question, he’ll ask, but for the most part, Rory kind of goes and does his thing and he’s got a lot of feel.

In my head, as a player, when you execute a shot exactly how you’re supposed to and it ends up in a terrible spot, you have to look at, all right, what happened here. Because that’s what happened at the 15th hole.”

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy© Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images Sport

Andrew "Chubby" Chandler on Rory McIlroy and his caddie

Rory's former manager, Andrew "Chubby" Chandler, surprised many by emphasizing that Rory is the kind of golfer who often doesn't listen to anyone, and that the caddy is not to blame in this story at all. Chandler stresses that most people don't understand the Northern Irishman, highlighting that Rory is difficult to work with.

“You can’t blame the caddie because [McIlroy] doesn’t listen to anybody. Everybody blaming the caddie does not know what they are talking about.“- Chandler said.

Chandler is a man who has worked with Rory for many years, likely understanding Rory's mentality and behavior very well. He is someone who doesn't want blame placed on the caddy, considering that many golfers have unique characters and often stubbornly make their own decisions.

“Rory does what Rory wants to do. In life, full stop. So for everyone to say ‘it was the caddie’s fault’, what is the caddie going to do, have a row with him on the 18th tee? If he has hit three-wood on the other three days, he probably doesn’t understand why he is going with driver. But if he butts in and [McIlroy] goes on and makes a bogey, it is his fault.”- Chandler said.

McIlroy does not want to enter into such stories or have a concrete reaction, considering that he is the target of headlines day after day. It would be difficult to react to everything.

Rory Mcilroy Us Open