There was a certain amount of grumbling – justified or not – about the way some European Tour fields are played. too easy, especially in 2019 when Rory McIlroy criticized the playability on Renaissance club iin North Berwick, Scotland, which has hosted the Scottish Open since 2019.
“I don’t think the courses are hard enough to set up,” McIlroy told reporters after the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which also took place in Scotland. “There are no penalties for bad shots.
“I don’t feel that good golf is appreciated as much as it could be. It happened at the Scottish Open in the Renaissance. I hit 13th and finished 30th [actually tied for 34th] again. This is a bad test. I think if the European Tour wants to present a really good product, the golf courses and settings need to be tougher.”
Other players soon expressed similar concerns. Ernie Els of South Africa said he agreed with McIlroy “100 percent”. European Tour flagships and other main events should be ‘big’ tough. Experience the best! Els announced this on Twitter.
Edoardo Molinari from Italy, a three-time DP World Tour winner, tweeted: “Good hits should be rewarded and bad hits punished…it’s that simple!”.
Now, either thanks to the input of the players or simply because the owners have made improvements, several courses in Europe and the United States have undergone changes, including the Renaissance Club, which hosts the Scottish Open for the fourth time starting on Thursday.
“There were few points in the first year, but that was because the European Tour didn’t know the course,” Harrington said of the club’s first year hosting the tournament. “They were very easy to set up. That’s when the owner of the Renaissance club, Jerry Savardisaid, “Let’s harden this course.”
Players like McIlroy reacted to the way officials set the course for the tournament. Doak said. Consider the weather.
“They’ve been holding the tournament there for three years and they’ve never had normal weather,” he said. “It’s only windy one or two days out of 12. It’s usually a windy place, it’s like Muirfield Next door. Conditions matter a lot.
“But we don’t control the weather. You can not build a link track and tighten it so that it is difficult in favorable conditions, because then it is impossible to play on the track with wind. You must have some leeway. So we’re slowly making changes. We don’t want to overplay.”
Most of the changes were gradual.
“Over the last two or three years, we’ve mostly been making small adjustments – fairway bunkers and contours.” Doak said. “We just work in the fields. When I first developed the course [in 2008]We were just about to have an event. You don’t actually design for a one-time event, I design for attendees.
“But when you’re going to run a tournament on a full-time basis, you need to think about the core function of the golf course and what we want to change about it.”
They also allowed the rough to grow. “We’re trying to make the rough even rougher,” he said.
Adding bunkers on fairways [deep with high side walls] According to Doak, shots away from the tee should present an increased challenge for players, forcing them to think more carefully about their shots and strategy.
“We never thought about it when the course was first built,” he said. “I just never cared about players carrying 300 yards. But now there are a bunch of them.”
Other more significant changes were considered, such as changing or reducing greenery.
“It would be very difficult to replace the green and get it back to the right state before the next tournament.” Doak said. He is waiting to see how the field behaves in more normal weather conditions. “Then we’ll see if we keep changing or we’re good where we are.”
harrington, Who did win The United States Senior Open last month approached change from a player’s point of view.
“As a player, you want these changes right now,” he said. “In an ideal world, all golf courses develop. Golf courses are constantly changing. But you have to go slow with these changes, and you can’t go into it hardening it for the sake of making it tougher.
“We’ve made small changes to split the field up a bit,” Harrington said. “You have to make your golf course a crucible.
“I love to punish a guy who doesn’t take responsibility or gets cold feet and gives up. But no one wants to stop a player from playing well. We want to encourage them to play well, tease them and ask them to make more great shots. But we will punish you if you shoot and miss.”
Harrington also emphasized that the changes will force players to choose their shots more carefully.
“We’ve defined penalties more clearly and if a player wants to take them, great,” he said. “But they separate the winner from the guy who finishes 10th. If you play badly, there is a big danger. But if you play well, you will be rewarded.
Goal by Savardi, owner of the club. it was easy. “I want a course that rewards good shots and punishes bad shots,” he said. “No matter what the weather is.”
However, Savardi still keeps an eye on the weather.
“The green is dry as bone and our fairways are rock hard,” he said. “If the weather stays like this, this place will burn.”