Why Rory McIlroy keeps 1 reward — that’s typically given to caddies

Rory McIlroy, Harry Diamond

Rory McIlroy and Harry Diamond on Thursday at PGA National.

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Rory McIlroy, while he was impressed, won’t try to emulate. He knows the score. 

Fifteen is greater than four. 

It was about three years ago now, during his media availability ahead of the 2021 Masters, when McIlroy revealed he’d visited Tiger Woods at his home, and the conversation had briefly turned to trophies. Woods, McIlroy said, had just 15 displayed, the 15 earned from his 15 major championship wins. As for all the others? Woods didn’t know. Nor did he seem to care. 

If you’re into statements, that was one. It begged a question to McIlroy, though. He’s won four majors himself. Does he have a similar setup?

“That would look a little sad just having four up there,” he said. “His 15 look a little better.”

Indeed. That said, McIlroy has another display in his home. On the walls of his gym. 

Ahead of this week’s Cognizant Classic, the question of the meaning of trophies was posed to various pros, and the talk was insightful. Did they still have value in the era of big money? Or were they wasteful? Just cut the check, thank you very much. 

McIlroy answered with a story. 

Notably, he also revealed he did have a trophy setup. Two of them actually. The first was on a wall in his home’s entertainment room, where, he said, “you’ve got some sterling silver ones, some gold ones, a couple of Wedgewood ones from the WGCs back in the day. Got some sort of crystal ones. Yeah, you’ve got a bit of everything. It’s a bit of a mishmash, a random collection.” The other display was at Holywood Golf Club in Northern Ireland, where McIlroy learned the game. “Sort of a nice thing, as well,” he said. 

But he’s also after 18th-hole pin flags. 


Aren’t those usually given to caddies after wins? 

They are. But McIlroy, it seems, has built himself a bit of a shrine. 

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“Yeah, so I know a lot of players give their caddies the flags from the 18th greens,” he said, “but I like to keep those, and they’re all in my gym, sort of more for motivation.

“I go in there and I see all the flags on the wall and I want to add flags to those walls. That’s my motivation. The trophies are really cool and great to look at them and see all the names that came before you. That’s amazing.

“But just for pure motivation. And I think it’s sort of like a double-edged sword. You look at these things and it’s a nice moment to reflect on what you achieved, but it’s also really good motivation in terms of what you still want to do in the game.”

OK, that’s good and all. 

But if McIlroy’s stashing away one of the caddie’s rewards, does Harry Diamond, McIlroy’s looper, leave victories empty-handed? Is McIlroy stiffing him?

What does Diamond get?

“Ten percent,” McIlroy laughed, referring to the typical cash given to caddies. 

“No, so Harry actually has — I think he has in his house framed the four shirts that I wore to win the four major championships.

“But, yeah, I mean he’s happy enough.”

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.