Rory McIlroy to retain Harry Diamond as his caddie in 2018

Rory McIlroy appointed Diamond as his caddie after splitting from JP Fitzgerald in the summer
Diamond is a long-time friend of the former world number one

Rory McIlroy is to retain Harry Diamond as his caddie in 2018.

Diamond has caddied for McIlroy in seven events since the former world number one's split from JP Fitzgerald.

A source close to Diamond confirmed to BBC Northern Ireland a report in the Guardian which said that the duo's partnership would continue into 2018.

After appointing Diamond on an initial short-term basis in August, McIlroy said that he had "inundated" with approaches from potential caddies.

McIlroy and Diamond, who was a top amateur player in Ireland, have been friends since childhood.

The four-time major winner is in the middle of a three-month break from golf as he attempts to recover from a rib injury which forced him to miss several events this year.

The 28-year-old will return to action at the Abu Dhabi Championship in January which will begin a busy period of competitive appearances prior to the Masters in April.

McIlroy will compete in the Dubai Desert Classic a week later and he also committed to playing in five events in the US prior to the Masters.

That could be increased to seven pre-Masters tournaments in North America if he opts to tee up at the WGC Mexico Championship and the WGC Match Play.

McIlroy will begin a run of three tournaments in as many weeks in the US when he competes at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am from 8-11 February.

After his appearances at the Genesis Open and Honda Classic, McIlroy has also committed to the Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational in successive weeks in March.

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