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Rory McIlroy has thrown his European Tour future into fresh doubt after complaining that the set-ups on the circuit are too easy. 

After finishing in a tie for 26th on 15-under-par in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the former world No.1 told reporters in St Andrews that he intends to prioritise the PGA Tour again next season.

The reason? He thinks courses on the European Tour aren’t set up to provide a stern enough test.

“I’m sort of honestly sick of coming back over to the European Tour and shooting 15 under par and finishing 30th,” said McIlroy. “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 and it’s like that.

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“I don’t feel like good golf is regarded as well as it could be.”

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The Northern Irishman, who finished seven shots adrift of winner Victor Perez at the Alfred Dunhill Links, singled the Scottish Open out for particular criticism.

“I shot 13-under and finished 30th again,” he said. “It’s not a good test. I think if the European Tour wants to put forth a really good product, the golf courses and setups need to be tougher.”

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McIlroy added that winning the FedEx Cup this year was “validation” of his decision to focus more on the PGA Tour this season and he strongly hinted that he’ll be doing that again next year. 

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“I want to play on the courses I want to play at,” he said. “I don’t think I should get stick for that because I feel like I’m doing the right thing.”


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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