With regular caddy Harry Diamond unavailable for this week's DP Tour World Championship, former Ulster and Connacht rugby player Niall O'Connor will carry Rory McIlroy's bag in Dubai.
"If there's any week where I don't have Harry on the bag, it's good it's this week," said McIlroy.
"I feel like I could play this place blindfolded. I've been coming back here for ten years, yeah, I know the place like the back of my hand.
"It's going to be a fun week for us to get out there and hopefully I can play well the first few days and you know, we'll get into the heat of battle hopefully on the weekend and that will be something that will be fun for both of us.
"Obviously I'll maybe take on a little bit more responsibility than I usually do and jot stuff down. It feels a little bit like when Harry first came on the bag a couple years ago, right. I took on a little more responsibility writing stuff in my yardage book and pacing stuff out. I actually quite enjoy that part, as well.
"Obviously Niall and I go back a long way, so yeah, for me at this point it's just about trying to stay as relaxed and as loose as possible out there and he can definitely do that for me."
The 32-year-old O'Connor also played out-half for the Ireland U20s and the Ireland Wolfhounds. He had two stints with Ulster and in between joined Connacht in 2011.
"He's a pretty good golfer himself," said McIlroy.
"He's played a lot of amateur tournaments in Ireland, so he knows the game well, and he knows what it's like, how that feels to be in the heat of battle and be under pressure and all that.
"It's a change of pace for both of us. He's obviously stuck in an office in New York most days, and yeah, so it will be fun."
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