Niall O’Connor, the 32-year-old who also played for Ireland A, Connacht and Jersey before emigrating to the United States, is filling in for caddy Harry Diamond, McIlroy’s regular bagman who is temporarily unavailable for the Jumeirah Golf Estates event.
“If there’s any week where I don’t have Harry on the bag, it’s good it’s this week,” said McIlroy to the European Tour website, europeantour.com.
“I feel like I could play this place blindfolded. I’ve been coming back here for ten years. I know the place like the back of my hand. Obviously, I’ll maybe take on a little bit more responsibility than I usually do and jot stuff down.
“It feels a little bit like when Harry first came on the bag a couple of years ago. I took on a little more responsibility writing stuff in my yardage book and pacing stuff out. I actually quite enjoy that part, as well.
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“Niall and I go back a long way, so for me at this point it’s just about trying to stay as relaxed and as loose as possible out there and he can definitely do that for me.
“He’s a pretty good golfer himself. He’s played a lot of amateur tournaments in Ireland, so he knows the game well and he knows what it’s like, how that feels to be in the heat of battle and be under pressure and all that.
“It will be fun to be out there with him this week, and it’s a change of pace for both of us. He’s obviously stuck in an office in New York most days, so it will be fun.”
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