McIlroy on European Tour course criticism: It came from the right place

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Rory McIlroy took to social media to clarify that he was 'venting' yesterday but 'it came from the right place' after he caused a stir by saying he was sick of easy European Tour course set-ups... and Edoardo Molinari was quick to support his opinions

Rory McIlroy took to social media on Monday morning to clarify the remarks he made at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday, after he called out the European Tour for making the set-up of their golf courses too easy. 

His original comments came after he finished on 15-under-par (tied for 26th place), and had said that was "honestly sick of coming back over to The European Tour and shooting 15-under par and finishing 30th. I don't think the courses are set up hard enough."

"It happened at The Scottish Open, as well, Renaissance, I finished 13-, 14-under and finished 30th again," he had said. "It's not a good test."

And while McIlroy didn't backtrack over his comments about wanting golf course set-ups in Europe to be more difficult, he did concede that it probably wasn't the best choice of timing considering the Dunhill Links is also a pro-am event, so courses are also set-up to be playable for amateurs too.

"I understand voicing my concerns about golf course set ups in Europe to the media, at a pro am event on benign links courses wasn't the right place to do it, or, the right people to talk to about it," he wrote in a statement posted to instagram.

"I was venting yesterday but I can assure you it came from the right place."

mcilroy instagram

He then went on to explain that he feels it's not just a problem in Europe, but worldwide, and that golf courses on Tour are no longer presenting enough of a challenge for strategy or shot making. 

"Strategy, course management and shot making are important aspects of tournament golf that are being slowly taken out of the game at the top level, not just in Europe but worldwide," he continued.

"I would personally like to see tougher set ups in Europe because it will produce better, more complete young players in the future and that can only be a good thing for the game and our Ryder Cup chances going forward"

And McIlroy is far from alone in his thinking. Taking to twitter, fellow Tour pro Edoardo Molinari (who brought up this issue after the Scottish Open) showed support for the Northern Irishman with a series of tweets of his own feelings on course setups, agreeing that courses need to be tougher so that bad shots are punished more than they currently are. 

"I couldn’t agree more with Rory!," Molinari tweeted. "I said the same thing after the Scottish Open at Reinassance but obviously it’s slightly different if #2 in the world says it! Let’s hope someone will listen to him! #toughercourses

"The tougher the courses the more chances the better players will finish on top. Good shots must be rewarded and bad shots must be punished...it is that simple!

"I get that this week is unique and you can’t do much about it. However it happens regularly these days...not only when amateurs are playing.

"Longer is not the solution at all. Longest courses are often the easiest and the most boring ones!

"Golf National, Valderrama and Wentworth are among the most enjoyable, most rewarding and toughest golf courses...however they are far from being the longest!"

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship was Rory McIlroy's third start on the European Tour after claiming the FedEx Cup in August, having lost in a playoff at the Omega European Masters on 14-under to Sebastian Soderberg before a T9 finish on -11 when Danny Willett claimed the BMW PGA Championship. 

Prior to that, his only other European Tour start in 2019 was at the Scottish Open, where he finished T34 on 13-under.

McIlroy is set to play just two more events on the European Tour this season, the WGC-HSBC Champions in China and the season ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, and will once more play a more PGA Tour focused schedule over the next year.