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Rory McIlroy, while warming up, throws seven-word jab at Nick Faldo

Rory McIlroy, Harry Diamond

Colt Knost teed up Rory McIlroy, and McIlroy did not miss. 

Television golf analysts, as you well know, ply their trade by talking about the play and the players in front of them and you. But rare is when the sides flip — players dissecting analysts publicly — and ears can turn up when they do. Think of it this way: A one-way conversation suddenly becomes two, and the player who may have zinged in the past can now zing back. 

With that setup, let’s go to McIlroy, Knost, a hitting bay on the Muirfield Village range, a Golf Channel camera and a target.

McIlroy was warming up for Saturday’s third round of the Memorial. Knost, a former pro turned analyst, walked up and checked McIlroy’s launch monitor to the right of him. And Nick Faldo, also a former pro turned analyst, chimed in. We’ll let the broadcast take it from here.

“That’s all you need is Colt Knost in your blipping backswing while you’re trying to warm up,” Faldo said, tongue in cheek. 

Knost waved at the camera. 

“Put you right off your day, wouldn’t it?” Faldo said. “I would have him removed back in the day. Swiftly.” 

At this point, McIlroy stepped back from his hitting bay and walked up to Knost now standing behind him. They talked inaudibly for a second, then Knost got louder. 

“Say something really insulting about Nick,” Knost said, speaking to McIlroy and his caddie, Harry Diamond

McIlroy paused. And then:

“I don’t have to. Everyone else is.” 

McIlroy, Knost and announcer Steve Sands laughed. Hard. Knost walked to his right. McIlroy eventually doubled-over. And Faldo?

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He missed it. 

“What’s that?” he said. 

“He said something,” Sands said. “That was very good.” 

“I missed it,” Faldo said. 

While we’re not sure the comments McIlroy may have seen, he and Faldo have had some history over the years. Most recently, Faldo said at the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge that McIlroy didn’t have “a Plan B” when his play would take a turn. Then, during the final round of this year’s Masters, McIlroy holed out from a greenside bunker on the 18th hole — and Faldo announced it before the highlight was shown. 

“I don’t want to spoil it,” Faldo said a moment before CBS cameras pivoted to McIlroy on a tape delay. “But something incredible has just happened.”

Two days later, on the Dan Patrick Show, Faldo apologized. 

“So I’m sorry I blurted,” Faldo said. “I didn’t actually say what happened. So yeah, spoiler alert, but I guess, a rookie mistake. But gosh, when you’re in it, you can tell that I love it. I’m right in the midst of it literally, and then he pulls off that because then anything could happen.”

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