Diamond proves a gem for improving McIlroy

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Rory McIlroy gave Harry Diamond an "A" for his performance on the bag at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Last week, McIlroy surprisingly announced his split from long-time caddie JP Fitzgerald after a partnership that yielded four major titles.

The Northern Irishman turned to close friend Diamond at the Firestone Country Club, where he finished in a tie for fifth, and McIlroy had nothing but praise for his work.

"Harry was good, and he encouraged me when I needed it," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

"We both did yardages and we didn't really make any mistakes out there. He did what was expected of him, so I guess you can't not give him an A."

McIlroy signed for four sub-70 rounds in Ohio to finish seven under for the tournament, albeit that was nine shots shy of runaway victor Hideki Matsuyama.

It follows on from a top-10 finish at The Open last month and McIlroy is happy with his form heading into this week's US PGA Championship, having missed the cut in three of the four events prior to Royal Birkdale.

"I thought I saw some improvements in my game from when I got here on Wednesday," he added.

"I thought my wedge play got a little bit better as the week went on and I putted pretty well. Even when I missed putts out there, they were scaring the hole, so that was good.

"I drove the ball well, so everything that I need to do next week, I'm pretty comfortable with. I'm just excited to get there and have a good look at some of the changes and get myself prepared for next Thursday."