The role of the caddie came into question this week when Dave Renwick, bagman for Ricardo Gonzalez, informed Rory McIlroy of a rules infraction after the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Mcllroy was penalized two shots after failing to take full relief from a spectator walkway, a violation first reported by Renwick. The penalty turned McIlroy’s third-round 68 into a 70, and he eventually lost by one.
Afterward, Renwick told reporters that he was 40 yards ahead of McIlroy at the time, but he noticed that his foot was still on the spectator walkway. He didn’t want to shout back to McIlroy, nor did he want to approach him immediately after the hole, lest he disturb his round (they were only on the second hole). He was also fearful that the infraction would come to light after the fact and that Mclroy would be disqualified.
The Guardian reported that Renwick left a note in McIlroy’s locker on Sunday morning to explain the “good faith” of his actions.
“I couldn’t have gone to sleep knowing that I hadn’t said anything,” Renwick said, according to the report.
A few of the caddies at the Humana Challenge told Golfweek that it’s not the looper’s role to get involved in rules discussions. Some said Renwick should have told his player immediately of the potential rules breach and let them sort it out, not waiting until after they holed out on 18.
For his part, McIlroy absolved Renwick of any ill intent, telling reporters on Sunday, “he was just doing what I guess anyone would.”
“If I hadn’t said anything and Rory had won the tournament by a shot, that wouldn’t have been right and I couldn’t have lived with myself,” Renwick told the Guardian. “I feel I did the right thing, and if I could have stopped him before he hit the shot I would have.”