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19th Hole

Rory McIlroy is “sick” of easy European Tour course setups. Does he have a point?



A disgruntled Rory McIlroy departed the Alfred Dunhill Links on Sunday, but not before taking a dig at the European Tour, describing their course setups as being “too easy”.

An intriguing take from the second-best player in the world who had just finished T26 at the Scottish event.

Indeed, it isn’t the only performance in recent times either where McIlroy has been outdone by his peers on the European Tour—having failed to record a win in Europe since 2016.

Following his worst finish at a tournament since The Open, the Ulsterman loosened his tongue, and railed against the course setups on the European Tour, stating

“I’m 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. 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.”

Strong rhetoric from the 30-year-old Holywood native who clearly feels the European Tour is failing to match the PGA Tour in their ability to create challenging course setups.

Less than 24 hours after making the comments, McIlroy took to Instagram to acknowledge he had been wrong to make the remarks 15 minutes after his final round on Sunday. However, the 30-year-old maintained that he would like to see tougher setups on the European Tour.

“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 our game and our Ryder Cup chances going forward.”

As McIlroy explained in the post, last week’s event was a Pro-Am played across links courses in benign conditions which will always lead to low scores – similar to what you’d see at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour.

Taking the Ulsterman’s criticism at face value, then the reason behind his disappointing T26 finish last week boiled down to one thing—not playing well enough. If these courses are as simple as McIlroy is making them out to be, then his failure to produce his best on them shows that he simply needs to play better.

After all, are the “easy” course setups on the European Tour much different to the target golf we see week in week out on the PGA Tour? After crunching some numbers, the answer appears to be no.

Ignoring WGC’s and Major championships, through 24 regular strokeplay events in 2019 on the European Tour, the average winning score has been -16.125. On the PGA Tour, through 33 standard strokeplay events, the average winning score has been -16.9. Furthermore, three European Tour events have been won by scores in the single digits under par in 2019, as opposed to the PGA Tour, where just two tournaments have produced winners in the single numbers.

The talent pool on the PGA Tour is undoubtedly greater than that of the European Tour. But it’s also worth noting that big names from across the pond such as Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele have also tried their hand on these “easy” European Tour courses in recent times, and neither player was able to land any severe blows.

The 30-year-old’s timing of his criticism, as he has since acknowledged, was poor and came one week after PGA Tour stalwart Billy Horschel said of Wentworth that

“You can’t fake it around here. If you hit shots off-line, you’re going to get penalised for it. It’s a beautiful test of golf and I absolutely have loved my entire week here. Everything that encompasses this event can rival the best of the best on the PGA Tour in my opinion.”

With the likes of Le Golf National waiting around the corner, perhaps McIlroy just needs to be more prudent in choosing which events he competes in during his trips back home to Europe.

Do you think McIlroy is justified in his criticism of European Tour course setups being too easy, WRXers?










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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito



  1. Christian

    Oct 1, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    It’s entirely possible that the person who ends up T26 on an “easy” would win on a punishing narrow course. People who complain don’t understand what he’s saying.
    Think about it like this, the easier it becomes the more difficult it is for the players with skills that truly separates them from the less talented to win.
    Schumacher always dominating in the rain is another example.

  2. JThunder

    Sep 30, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    Every day, Rory McIlroy (perhaps inspired by POTUS) is proving that social media is “post first, think later”. I’ve generally liked Rory, but he should let his clubs do the talking and stop offering his ill-considered opinions on a daily basis. (And, yes, this absolutely goes for more than just Rory.)

    If he’s letting his clubs do the talking, then clearly the courses were not “too easy” for him, as he finished T26.

    On the other hand, he could be part of the growing demographic who base their existence on social media presence; “I cause controversy on social media, therefore I am.”

  3. chip75

    Sep 30, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Rory’s point is that the longest/straightest drivers in the game aren’t been rewarded for their long/straight drives. Players that are almost as long (or longer) with a wider dispersion aren’t getting punished for errant shots. At the US Open you should lose a shot if you miss a fairway (that didn’t really happen at Pebble this year) at Augusta you should lose a shot for a poor approach. On the European Tour and PGA you can take a centre line down the fairway hit it 30-50 (at the extreme) yards left or right on most holes and not lose anything, save for a bit of RPMs off your approach. Watching players tackle a tree-lined course is such a joy, the rough wasn’t too punishing, but the trees where.

    Apart from a handful of weeks a year, the courses don’t reward accuracy off the tee, it’s all bomb and gouge and the gouging isn’t that much of an issue for today’s players.

    • gunmetal

      Oct 1, 2019 at 11:30 am

      100%. Pretty much in line with what Adam Scott was saying not too long ago. People everywhere are losing the fascination with shot making in lieu of hitting the ball 340 – no matter where it ends up. “Chicks dig the long ball” still rings true.

  4. Write Your Own Articles, Gianni

    Sep 30, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I like how the comments are “well why didn’t you win”… dude was t26 with -15. He has a point, but that point may be that there are easier courses in Europe. The fact that they “line up” at about -16 for a win with the PGA is used in the article to portray evenness, but that’s actually a bad take. You have a second-tier of talent finishing at about the same as what the first-tier does, so by definition it is easier!

    Maybe he’s venting, but there is a point. He made the effort to negotiate his way back into ET, but now as its “elder statesman”, he’s pointing out that it is, in fact, easier. Is that good? Dunno. Not to him, but that’s his opinion. But leave it to Plagiariocco to twist the concept into a disingenuous attack.

  5. Steve

    Sep 30, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    He is right but he doesn’t mention it also applies to the PGA tour. So much more interesting to watch when a par is a good score. Watching scores of -25 to -30 is frankly boring. Drives and wedges at most holes …… borrrrrrriiiiinnngggg

  6. Doug McManus

    Sep 30, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    It is pretty Simple Rory’s game is tuff courses sometimes in less than desirable conditions. I believe there is a let down for Rory’s caliber of player when the course is tame. When your in a big tournament or on a hard track that is where the great players rise to the occasion. I would be very interested for the European Tour to set up a course that 6-10 under would win.

  7. Mark

    Sep 30, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    He is saying what he thinks and not just pr BS. At least something unexpected not the usual stuff that you know the next sentence to be. I think he has a point, those courses are easy, it is like playing from further tees forward.

  8. T-Bone

    Sep 30, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Tour pros would complain that the lobster at the free buffet was too sweet.

  9. joro

    Sep 30, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Too easy? C’mon Rory, 26th at an course that is too easy so you say. I guess maybe you had better check on your performance causes if the were harder you may not have made as many cuts as you barely did this year. You a good guy and you can blow that with these kind of comments. I realize your the man on the pedestal at Golf Channel, but they will drop you like a hot rock when someone better comes along and that could be soon if you don’t stop the stupid comments and complaints.

  10. leftienige

    Sep 30, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Show us his last 20 finishes on the EU tour if it’s so easy-peasy . All wins ? Must be surely .

  11. Brian Drane

    Sep 30, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Rory is in danger of becoming a pre-madonna. A lot of what he does and says is bad. At the BMW (on the Friday) he didn’t sign the kids stuff, now he’s whinging it’s too easy so I can’t win… idiot – his issue is that he can’t hit a low ball, only high towering ones suited for the PGA Tour. Maybe he should apply for a Green Card.

  12. Amos John P.

    Sep 30, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    As a bad golfer who enjoys watching pros earn birdies, work to recover from wayward tee shots and get penalized playing from traps I get want he’s saying. As I’m infamous for saying. If the pros played from my tee shots, TV golf would be very entertaining.

    However I’ve never thought a course was too easy for me. I envy him.

  13. joselo

    Sep 30, 2019 at 9:45 am

    so i dont win because the setup is too easy?

    its too easy i lost interest?? geez rory

    • Christian

      Oct 1, 2019 at 6:58 pm

      It’s entirely possible that the person who ends up T26 on an “easy” would win on a punishing narrow course.

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19th Hole

GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (06/05/20) – Scotty Cameron, TaylorMade Tour, GC Quad



At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member jadedennill – Scotty Cameron CX-01

What a great price for a limited edition putter. This Scotty Cameron CX-01 is only 1 of 500 and offers a very unique look in a higher MOI blade design.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Scotty CSX-01

Member nc2lane – Foresight GC Quad

This ad feels like the classic episode of “The Simpsons,” where the family travels to a quiet east coast beach town and Lisa reinvents herself for the summer. To reinvent her look she takes her mom shopping for clothes and while off-camera you here “Mom come quick BRING MONEY!”

Well, you better bring the money, because state-of-the-art launch monitors don’t come cheap, but you certainly get what you pay for with the GC Quad from Foresight.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: GC Quad Launch Monitor

Member TheGriftKings – Unicorn 2015 8.5 M2 Driver

This is still one of the best and most sought after TaylorMade tour issue drivers of all time. This head is in amazing shape—basically new and at 8.5 degrees of loft, it’s even rarer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TaylorMade M2 Driver

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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19th Hole

Check out Tiger Woods’ incredible handicap index history from his entire career



Ever wondered what Tiger Woods’ handicap index has been throughout his career? Well, one statistician, Lou Stagner of Decade Golf, did some serious number crunching and the results are fascinating. 

From 1996 right through to today, Stagner used course rating and slope for each course in his research and calculated a differential for each round to find out what Tiger’s index would have been each year of his pro career.

You can see the impressive results in the graph below.


The results show that Woods was at his very best handicap wise in 2008 when he bossed a +9.4 index, his average index was +6.7 throughout his career, his current index is 6.5, and as Stagner noted, he was +7 or better for 35% of his handicap revisions.

It’s also worth noting that the results are not adjusted to tournament conditions. Not bad, eh?


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19th Hole

Henrik Stenson: Fan-less Ryder Cup is better than nothing




On Thursday, ‘Henrik Stenson Almost An Hour’ podcast presented by Callaway Golf aired for the first time, with the Swede sharing his thoughts on his playing schedule going forward, the tour’s return as well as a potential spectator-less Ryder Cup.

On the new bi-weekly podcast, Stenson described the potential of a Ryder Cup with no fans as being “very blunt”, but did stress that even a spectator-less Ryder Cup is better than no Ryder Cup at all.

“For the atmosphere and for the feeling, for us as players that would be, very blunt, it would be something that you can’t really imagine at this point.

Then looking at the bigger picture, if that’s the only way that the Ryder Cup can go ahead, and if it’s not an option to play it next year with crowds, with fans, then I would prefer to play a Ryder Cup than to not play a Ryder Cup.”

Stenson revealed he wouldn’t be returning to the U.S. until mid-July, and he’s expecting the first couple of week’s back to be “messy” as the players and officials adjust to the new conditions.

“I’ll sit out a few weeks and see how everything gets going. I think it might be a little bit more messy the first couple of weeks as well before everyone finds their bearings with testing and everything.

So I’ll watch it from the couch the first couple of weeks and most likely then with the current restrictions I will travel over in mid-July to Lake Nona. I’ll have a couple of weeks of practice and then I’ll tee it up at the WGC FedEx tournament in Memphis.”

Once the 44-year-old does get Stateside again, you can expect to see him often as he plans to play “every week up until Christmas.”

“And once I get over and start playing, I can pretty much play every week up until Christmas. Because (there’s) going to be lots of golf tournaments, and it’s not going to be a shortage. So I’m just kind of tweaking my return a little bit and will probably play a bit more in the fall.”

‘Henrik Stenson Almost An Hour’ podcast presented by Callaway Golf will air every other Thursday here.


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