Shocking statements from the normally learned Graeme McDowell in justifying why he's skipping the prestigious Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart for the second year in a row.
Jim Black reports:
McDowell, speaking on the eve of the Irish Open at Carton House near Dublin, said: “The Scottish Open has lost its identity and its prestige. Castle Stuart probably has not been a strong enough golf course.
“Let’s see them get the Scottish Open on a phenomenal links golf course with a great purse and get a world-class field back.
“We need to be capitalising a little harder on the week before and after the Open.
“I feel bad singling out the Scottish Open, because I used to love it at Loch Lomond. It was a phenomenal tournament. Taking it to Castle Stuart was designed to get it on a links course the week before The Open and it’s a beautiful venue — but it is probably a little too wide open off the tee and a little one-dimensional.
“But Royal Aberdeen next year is a venue which attracts me. I’ve heard great things about it and it could re-light the event.”
McDowell finished T42 in his lone appearance at the too easy Castle Stuart, the year freak rains softened the course and reduced the tournament to 54-holes.
Phil Mickelson is returning for a third year to the Scottish Open and NBC is providing network coverage in the United States, a first for a European Tour event.
And needless to say, I didn't find the course one-dimensional last year when watching some of the best shotmaking and most interesting play I'd seen in a long time. Some photos from Saturday and Sunday.
Unfortunately, Royal Aberdeen is excessively narrow to offset modern distance and will be a bit too one-dimensional if not widened out. Oh wait, wide is bad GMac! I forgot.