Sport Golf

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Casey believes McIlroy has 'valid point' in criticism of condensed Major schedule

Paul Casey says there are pros and cons to the new schedule. Photo: Sportsfile
Paul Casey says there are pros and cons to the new schedule. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Ryder Cup star Paul Casey has joined Rory McIlroy in the growing chorus of big names critical of the condensed Major schedule.

After playing all four Majors in 15 weeks this year to accommodate an earlier finish to the FedEx Cup play-offs, McIlroy said last week that he'd prefer golf to become more like tennis and see the Major season stretched out to make the game more relevant for a longer period and ease the burden on the players.

While Casey admitted there were "pros and cons" to the new schedule, he agreed it's not ideal.

"I still haven't gotten my head around having the Majors in a short period of time," Casey said on the eve of the Porsche European Open in Hamburg where European Ryder Cup captain Pádraig Harrington, Michael Hoey, Gavin Moynihan and Challenge Tour regular Cormac Sharvin fly the flag for Irish golf.

"Rory has a valid point, using tennis as an example and trying to elongate our window of top exposure.

"I look at it selfishly in terms of ease of travel. It didn't have the flow this year, and hopefully, that'll sort itself out."

The race is on to make the top 110 in the Race to Dubai who will be fully exempt next year.

Moynihan (155th) and Hoey (168th) are all well outside that mark right now but Sharvin is already poised to win his card via the top 15 in Challenge Tour rankings and avoid another trip to the Qualifying School, which began with the first of nine First Stage qualifiers this week.

The top 17 and ties at The Players Club in Bristol will progress to November's Second Stage and Shannon's Danny Brennan is well placed after a one-under 69 left him tied for fifth on six-under at halfway, just two strokes behind leaders Daniel Hillier and Jack South.

UK-based Tyler Hogarty is joint eighth, two shots further back, after a brace of 68s but Limerick's Tim Rice is two shots outside the qualifying places on level-par.

Headfort assistant Joe Dillon also has work to do after a second successive 71 left him joint 40th on two-over while Royal Dublin's Brian McCormack is seven-over after a 74.

On the Challenge Tour, The Island's Paul McBride and Portmarnock Links' touring pro Robin Dawson are joined at the Open de Bretagne in France by Stephen Grant and Gary Hurley.

In amateur golf, Ireland qualified for today's quarter-finals of both the European Senior Ladies' and the European Senior Men's Team Championships.

The men face champions Germany today with the women taking on the Netherlands.

  • European Open, Live, Sky Sports Golf, 10.0am, golf

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