World number two Rory McIlroy has backtracked on an earlier rant branding European Tour events as “too easy” which he bizarrely made in the aftermath of finishing tied 26th in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
McIlroy shot 15-under par across the four days of competition at St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie, but it wasn’t good enough to threaten for victory as he finished seven shots adrift of winner Victor Perez.
A frustrated McIlroy, a four-time major winner who spends the majority of his playing time in the United States on the PGA TOUR, then hit out at the European Tour officials and tournament organisers.
Speaking to media at St Andrews afterwards, McIlroy ranted in what was a contradictory moan considering his finishing position in the event.
“I’m sick of coming back over to the European Tour and shooting 15 under par and finishing 30th,” said McIlroy in what was meant to be a message to the organisers of the tour. “I don’t think the courses are set up hard enough. There are no penalties for bad shots. It’s tough when you come back when it’s like that, I don’t think good golf is rewarded as well as it could be.
“It happened at the Scottish Open as well. I finished 13, 14 under for the week and finished 30th again. It’s not a good test. I think, if the European Tour want to put forward a really good product, the golf course and the set-ups need to be tougher.”
It was something of a strange complaint with Perez’s good golf rewarded with victory, and considering all players had played in the same conditions across all three golf courses on Scottish coast.
A calmer McIlroy took to Instagram on Monday morning to clarify his earlier rant, claiming he was merely wanting to point of that European golfers would improve should they play in tougher conditions.
Ironically, McIlroy’s victory in the Canadian Open—a PGA TOUR event—in June came when he posted the same 72-hole score of 22-under that Perez had shot to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
In his Instagram post, McIlroy wrote: “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. I was venting yesterday but I can assure you it came from the right place.”
“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.”
It was something of a backtrack from McIlroy’s earlier rant, and one he may wish he had thought about before the original interview.