Belfast Telegraph

Rory McIlroy says European Tour criticism 'came from the right place' after 'venting' at Alfred Dunhill Links

Rory McIlroy called for changes to the European Tour's course set-up after the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Rory McIlroy called for changes to the European Tour's course set-up after the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Rory McIlroy has admitted that Sunday's press briefing after the conclusion of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship wasn't the time or place to be venting his latest frustrations about the European Tour.

The world number two finished 15 under par in a tie for 26th place, seven behind winner Victor Perez.

He would go on to say that he was 'sick' of 'good golf' going unrewarded this side of the Atlantic, claiming that courses should play more difficult in European Tour events.

However, on Monday morning, McIlroy released a social media post clarifying his comments and pointing out that his criticism is with a view to ultimately improve Europe's Ryder Cup performance.

"I was venting yesterday, but I can assure you it came from the right place," he wrote on Instagram.

"I understand voicing 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.

"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.

"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 forwards."

Aside from majors and World Golf Championship events which count for both tours, McIlroy has played in four European Tour events this year, finishing in a tie for ninth at -15 at the PGA Championship and losing in a play-off after a -14 total at the European Masters.

However, it was his 34th place finish at the Scottish Open, after finishing on -13, that he referenced after Sunday's final round at St Andrew's.

“I’m honestly sick of coming back over to the European Tour and shooting 15-under par and finishing 30th," he said. "I don’t think the courses are set up hard enough. There’s no penalties for bad shots. It’s tough when you come back when it’s like that.

I don’t feel like good golf is regarded as well as it could be. I hope so. It happened at the Scottish Open, as well, at the Renaissance, I finished 13 under and finished 30th again (actually T34th). It’s not a good test.

"I think if the European Tour want to put forth a really good product, the golf courses and set-ups need to be tougher.”

McIlroy will next tee it up in competitive action at the Zozo Championship in Japan from 24-27 October. Earlier this week, he will face Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day in a high-stakes skins game

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