04 Jul 2022

Opinion: 'Golf's problem isn't with easy set-ups' - Ivan Morris

Opinion: 'Golf's problem isn't with easy set-ups' - Ivan Morris

Rory McIlroy

GOLF Officialdom is full of hypocrisy! Because of their status, the Rory McIlroys and Sergio Garcias get away with (almost) anything. Unlike the unfortunate pro golfer in Korea, Bio Kim who, unbelievably, was suspended for three years for (justifiably) reacting angrily to a fan who took an up-close photograph of him in the middle of his swing.

Kim gave the guilty party 'the finger' and an 'earful'.

While Rory has never done anything like that, he did not show much restraint when criticising the hand that feeds him (European Tour) after the Dunhill tournament in Scotland last week.

While, Sergio Garcia has gone unpunished in spite of abusing bunkers and greens and throwing clubs at his caddy.

Garcia has always been, in my opinion spoiled, self-absorbed and entitled.

McIlroy gives a good impression of being similar by saying he was 'sick and tired of coming back across the Atlantic from America to play courses that are too ‘easy’ on what he clearly regards as a second-class European Tour?

No wonder he apologised pretty smartly but the damage was already done. Audiences hear what they want to hear.

How you say something matters more than what you say. For Rory to say that many of the courses the pros play on Tour are set up for low scoring and that this style of golf can be boring and take away the skill advantages of the better players is fair but he did not say it the right way or in the right place.

Losing the pro-am prize (playing with his Dad) by one shot and shooting 15-under par to finish a distant, tied-26th put him in a bad mood but, it sounded like self-justification for his decision to play most of his golf in the U.S.A.

Lowest score wins and that should be the beginning and the end of it.

If you are a proper pro you will adjust to any course conditions. Eleven tournaments (not including the majors and WGCs) have been won on the European Tour this year with scores worse than -15.

It's a pity Rory did not play in any of them. He could have won them all.

The Dunhill is the last event he should be criticizing. It was where he won his Tour Card and avoided the bear pit of Q-School 12-years ago. The Dunhill is a pro-am and is set up to accommodate the amateurs taking part.

Forget about all of Rory's 'top 10s', Rory should be winning more. Winning is all that matters especially when you are as good as he is.

Was Rory also a little teed off that his former caddy, JP Fitzgerald, 'won' the Dunhill by carrying the winner's bag? They have not spoken since their long-standing partnership ended abruptly.

JP had the Midas touch to find himself carrying the winning bag with a name (Victor Perez) on it that (until now) was infinitely less famous than his own.

The knowledge and experience of a bagman like JP is worth a couple of shots to any inexperienced player finding himself in contention 'out of the blue'. Fair dues to Perez for exploiting it.

JP is obviously a better caddy than he was ever given credit for.

As I have written repeatedly, the problem with golf today isn't the courses being set up 'too easy'.

The problem is the ball and equipment the pros use making the game (on any course) too easy for them (not everybody else)

At McIlroy's level, golf must be boring and less interesting to play. It is not much fun to watch either. The solution? Bifurcate the equipment between amateurs and professionals.

Europeans can remain resigned to seeing less of McIlroy. He will continue to play most of his golf in America. His permanent home is there.

He is tired of the constant travelling back and forth, adjusting to different time zones. You cannot blame him for that.

The people of County Clare will feel short-changed forever and won't forget or forgive him anytime soon for not playing in this year's Irish Open at Lahinch or, never playing in The South when he could have.

Rory's ambivalence about representing Ireland in the Rio Olympics is another sore point that wins him few friends in places like Clare.

When he said he didn't 'feel Irish' it was unforgivable but, it won't stop him donning green at next year's Olympics in Japan, if it suits him.

Nor, will it stop us cheering for him if he wins a gold medal, but in Clare, it might.

Pro golf was a far better and more appreciated spectacle when pros had to win regularly, and often, to make a comfortable living.

Top-10s didn't pay mortgages. You would never hear Peter Alliss, Christy O'Connor or Peter Thomson making the silly comments that Rory makes!

Words of the Wise

We admire pro golfers because we know we’re not capable of playing a round of golf remotely similar to the way they go about doing it.

A top pro is far removed from what the average golfer does. Golf's tough.

A game that once seemed easy becomes a trial when the titles stop flowing and you start thinking about making the cuts.

Professional golfers are judged solely on results. Scorecards don’t list bad bounces, poor lies, aching wrists, sore knees or injured backs. Pro golf is a brutal business and an unrelenting grind. Lose your edge and you’ll be trampled into the turf.

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