Rory McIlroy has responded to criticism from the general manager of Castle Stuart Golf Links over his decision to skip the Scottish Open between 2011 and 2013 when it was staged at the Inverness-shire venue.
McIlroy, 25, played in last week’s tournament at Royal Aberdeen, his first time in the field since 2010. That, of course, was the final year that it was staged at Loch Lomond, before taking up residency for three seasons at Castle Stuart.
The two-time major winner chose to skip those events, remarking that the Mark Parsinen course is not a ‘true links test’.
Those comments clearly irked Stuart McColm, the GM of Castle Stuart. Announcing the tournament’s return to the Highlands in 2016, McColm was asked if he was concerned that top players, like McIlroy, might be inclined to skip it again.
"The disappointment for me is that Rory has never been,” said McColm. “I don't know how he can say something about a golf course he has never seen.
"It’s just not a true links course. I mean, how long has it been there? Five years?" - Rory McIlroy
"Why doesn't he come up there and play it before making up his mind?”
However, responding to McColm’s comments after his final round at Roual Aberdeen yesterday, McIlroy stood his ground.
“It’s not that Castle Stuart is too easy,” the former world No.1 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.”
Asked if he would take McColm up on his offer to play the course, he added: “We’ll see what happens. It’s a couple of years away yet, so we’ll see.”
Rory McIlroy & Castle Stuart
Is Rory McIlroy right to skip the Scottish Open in the years that the tournament takes place at Castle Stuart? Or do you agree with Stuart McColm that he should play the course before making up his mind about it? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.