PGA: Rory McIlroy addresses U.S. Open meltdown, caddie criticism

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Rory McIlroy shed light on a dark day Wednesday, more than three weeks removed from his collapse at the U.S. Open.

McIlroy bogeyed three of his final four holes, letting Bryson DeChambeau win with a par save at the 72nd hole at Pinehurst No. 2. The Northern Irishman missed two par putts from inside 5 feet at the 16th and 18th holes in North Carolina.

McIlroy left the course minutes after DeChambeau beat him by one stroke to win the championship.

“I got over it pretty quickly,” McIlroy said Wednesday, one day ahead of the start of defending his championship at the Scottish Open in Berwick, Scotland.

“The few days after it were pretty tough at times, but I feel like I’ve done a good job of thinking about it rationally and constructively and taking what I need from it and trying to learn from it. But like for the most part it was a great day. I keep saying to people, ‘It was a great day until it wasn’t.'”

McIlroy, the No. 2 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, said he went to New York for a scheduled trip. He was pleased to be alone at that time.

“Sort of was alone with my thoughts for a couple days, which was good,” McIlroy said. “I had some good chats with people close to me, and as you start to think about not just Sunday at Pinehurst but the whole way throughout the week, there was a couple of things that I noticed that I wanted to try to work on over the last few weeks coming into here, and obviously next week (at Royal Troon Golf Course in Scotland).”

McIlroy also addressed the criticism directed at his caddie Harry Diamond, who took verbal shots from NBC’s Smylie Kaufman and instructor Hank Haney. The two took issue with McIlroy using a 7-iron on the 15th hole at the U.S. Open.

“Hank Haney has never been in that position,” McIlroy said. “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 FedExCups 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 in the in the arena. They are not the ones hitting the shots and making the decisions. Someone said to me once — 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.”

–Field Level Media

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