New Open champion hits back at Moray Firth club’s general manager after being criticised for not playing during Scottish Open’s three-year Highlands stint.
RORY MCILROY was forced to hit back in the lead up to this year’s Open after receiving criticism from Castle Stuart Golf Links general manager.
McIlroy played in the Scottish Open this year for the first time since playing at Loch Lomond in 2009, saying his absence had been due to Castle Stuart not offering a ‘true links test’ when it hosted the event from 2011 to 2013.
Those comments did not go down well with Stuart McColm, the general manager of Castle Stuart, who commented: “The disappointment for me is that Rory has never been, I don’t know how he can say something about a golf course he has never seen. Why doesn’t he come up there and play it before making up his mind?”
After his final round at Royal Aberdeen, the Northern Irishman was asked to respond to McColm’s comments and he wasn’t impressed by them.
“It’s not that Castle Stuart is too easy,” the 25-year-old told bunkered.co.uk. “It’s just not a true links course. I mean, how long has it been there? Five years? Well Royal Aberdeen has been there for hundreds, so it’s a bit different.”
McColm made the comments as the hosts for the next two editions of the Scottish Open were announced, with Gullane set to hold the event in 2015, before it returns to the Highlands and Castle Stuart in 2016.
The news comes as a major boost to Gullane and East Lothian as it will play host to the Scottish Open for the first time and it is set to be played over a ‘composite’ layout at the club, made up of a combination of holes from two of Gullane’s three courses – No.1 and No.2.
Gullane past captain Bruce Dunlop confirmed that the course for next year’s Scottish Open will be made up of three holes from No.2 and 15 holes from No.1 to make a par-71 layout measuring 7,257 yards in total and he is looking forward to welcoming a top class field to the club next summer.
“Gullane Golf Club has been working closely with the European Tour for a number of months and we are, therefore, delighted that they chose the club as the venue for the 2015 Scottish Open,” said Dunlop.
“We have a long proud record of hosting championship golf over our historical courses. With some of golf’s finest scenery and magnificent links turf, and 350 years of golfing history on Gullane Hill, the club very much looks forward to welcoming some of the world’s finest golfers to next year’s Scottish Open.”
The event will return to Castle Stuart Golf Links in 2016 for a fourth time and managing partner of Castle Stuart Golf Links, Mark Parsinen, added: “We are naturally delighted to be selected to host the 2016 Scottish Open and to once again be working with the European Tour to attract some of the world’s finest golfers back to the links at Castle Stuart.”
The news also appears positive for Dundonald Links, which has been touted as a future Scottish Open venue, as the tournament now has venues in the Highlands, North East and South East of Scotland, and it is anticipated organisers are on the lookout for a ‘home’ in the West.