Diamond tipped to get McIlroy's bag full-time
Harry Diamond and Rory McIlroy in celebrating Christmas on 2014. Via  Twitter

Harry Diamond and Rory McIlroy in celebrating Christmas on 2014. Via Twitter

Rory McIlroy will reveal all in Akron tomorrow but our sources in Belfast are convinced that Harry Diamond will take over as his caddie on a full-time basis this week.

The pair are lifelong friends and while Diamond has a string of business interests in Northern Ireland, he is now hotly tipped to travel with McIlroy for the forseeable future.

If confirmed, McIlroy will be following in the footsteps of Pádraig Harrington, who hired close friend Ronan Flood as a temporary replacement for the highly experienced Dave McNeilly in 2004. They are still together.

"I have my best friend with me when I'm out on Tour," Harrington said. "That makes a huge difference to me."

Flood and Harrington have won three majors together and their successful relationship owes much to their friendship.

When Flood took over, it was seen by outsiders as a risky move, though it was not meant to be a permanent.

Harrington had just eight professioanl wins when he let McNeilly go. He now has 21, including three majors, and it's clear that his successful partnership with Flood is about a lot more than yardages and club selections.

"Myself and Dave and got plenty of clubs wrong," Harrington said shortly after hiring Flood. "I always checked Dave’s yardages but he was never let go because of that. It wasn’t anything to do with his inability to club me. It was outside stuff.

“To be honest, if I had a guy like Ronan caddying for me for the next five years or ten years, I’d be delighted.”

Flood, a banker and a close friend who went on to marry the sister of Harrington's wife Caroline, stepped into the breach to give the Dubliner time to find a top replacement.

But Harrington was upset at suggestions that Flood was an amateur who was jeopardising his chances.

“Changing caddie is always difficult," Harrington said at the time. "But the suggestion that he is not a professional caddie is just silly. 

“I have my eye on four caddies. I had two in mind when I finished with Dave and looking around there are two more that I have my eye on. I’m just biding my time until the end of the year or later in the season. But they are not available at the moment.

“I was always very comfortable with Ronan. Dave was never let go because of his inability to caddie on the golf course. He struggled with his preparation. It wasn’t on the course, it was before we got out there. 

“There is probably a lot more to caddying than meets the eye and Ronan is doing an excellent job all the way through.

“Dave and I were too alike. He wanted to do too much. He couldn’t relax before we went out. This was after five years of it continually happening. 

“I need somebody more relaxed and it was as if Dave didn’t trust himself. He was continually checking, checking. It was a preparation thing. Before we went out he would be running around the place

“Dave is the only caddie in the world who was continually told to relax. I’d say, don’t bother doing that. Just take it easy. Just sit on your backside. 

“But he continually wanted to do more and more and I needed something in between.”