Rory McIlroy, who won Player of the Year after a spectacular season, traveled across the pond to Scotland for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns.
While McIlroy played well in the tournament, he was still seven shots off the lead held by winner Victor Perez even though he posted 70-66-70-67.
“I’m sort of honestly sick of coming back over to the European Tour and shooting 15 under par and finishing 30th,” said McIlroy.
“I don’t think the courses are set up hard enough,” McIlroy said. “There are no penalties for bad shots. It’s tough when you come back and it’s like that. I don’t feel like good golf is regarded as well as it could be. It happened in the Scottish Open at Renaissance. I shot 13 under and finished 30th [actually T-34] again. It’s not a good test. I think if the European Tour wants to put forth a really good product, the golf courses and setups need to be tougher.”
McIlroy’s desire to play in European Tour events is understandable considering that’s where he is from, but he adjusted his schedule a couple of years ago to include more PGA Tour events for a reason.
“Winning the FedEx Cup was validation of my decision to play more in the States,” said McIlroy. “I’m getting stick [for not playing more in Europe], but I’m turning down millions of dollars [by not going] to Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia because I want to do the right thing. I want to play on the courses I want to play at. I don’t think I should get stick for that because I feel like I’m doing the right thing.”
“It’s been a great year. I’ve won big events and I’ve consistently played well. Every week I show up and I shoot good scores and play good golf. If I continue to do that, I’ll be in a good spot. I don’t want to travel that much anymore. I’ve done it for 12 years. I want to have easy flights and not have to go across eight, nine time zones and have to get acclimatized. I’m happy to do what I’ve done this year.”
The trip to Scotland wasn’t all bad, as he played alongside his father Gerry in the pro-am portion of the tournament. The two finished tied for first with Tommy Fleetwood and Ogden Phillips II, but because Fleetwood had a lower score on Sunday, his team was awarded the win.
McIlroy’s comments drew plenty of attention after the event, and on Monday he clarified them through his Instagram account.
This reminds me of the time that Kelly Kraft and Grayson Murray made some comments about how easy the European Tour was.
It's amazing to me how fast some of the Asian Tour/ Euro tour guys rise in the world golf rankings.
— Kelly Kraft (@kkraft11) March 23, 2017
Murray’s tweet has since been deleted, but here’s what he said in response the tweet above, “Let’s go play over there and then we will be in every major and WGC event the rest of our lives!”
why did you go to Europe when you turned pro? Oh wait you couldn't get through PGA tour school right away….
— Grayson Murray (@GraysonMurray) March 29, 2017
Michael is the founder and Editor in Chief of The Stiff Shaft. He is also the Senior Editor of Golfweek Custom Media and covers the World Long Drive for Golf Channel.
He has 8+ years of covering golf, is an LSU fan, and prefers to hit driver-wedge as often as possible.