Sunday 18 March 2018

Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy criticise 'incredibly weak' Ryder Cup course set-up

Europe's Justin Rose after the USA won the Ryder Cup
Europe's Justin Rose after the USA won the Ryder Cup

Andy Hampson

Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy have criticised the course set-up at Hazeltine National after Europe were beaten by the United States in the Ryder Cup.

Rose, one of Europe's key players, felt bad play was not punished severely enough during the final day's singles.

Rose was unable to build a commanding lead in his clash with Rickie Fowler despite the American playing the more wayward golf. Fowler eventually won the contest by one hole, pushing the United States towards their 17-11 victory.

Rose said: "I think if we were all to be honest about it, I thought the set-up was incredibly weak. I thought it was very much a pro-am feel in terms of the pin placements. They were all middle of the green.

"I don't quite understand that to be honest with you - (we are) world-class players here (and) we want to showcase our skills. We want to be tested. For example, the water holes out there, all the pins were as far away from the water as possible.

"The pin on 17 is an absolute a joke. It's a nine iron into the middle of the green. With a match on the line, you want a player to step up a little bit more than they have to.

USA's Patrick Reed and Europe's Rory McIlroy shake hands
USA's Patrick Reed and Europe's Rory McIlroy shake hands

"Even 18, if you hit a good drive down there, you've got a wedge into the green, and if you hit a wedge to the middle of the green, you're within 12 feet of the pin. I just felt coming down the stretch it was a little soft."

Team-mate Rory McIlroy agreed but felt the organisers, the PGA of America, were probably making use of their home advantage.

The Northern Irishman said: "I think if anything, with the position the Americans found themselves in, it was more beneficial to them obviously.

"Every pin where there was a hole with water it was put the other side of it.

"For example, it was tough for us because that first morning against Rickie and Phil (Mickelson), they may have hit two fairways in 18 holes between them but they came out on top.

"They handed the course over to the PGA on the Monday but it just seemed like bad tee shots were not getting punished as much as they should have been.

"That is all home advantage. You can do that and that's what Ryder Cups are all about.

"Any little advantage you can get in the Ryder Cup as the home team you have to take."

Fowler did not concur with Rose's opinion of the course and said: "I don't think it was easy by any means. Him and I didn't play as well as we would have liked to. I felt like it was an even match between the two of us."

Press Association

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