Jul
6
2011
Scottish Open: Birdies Welcome!
By Stephanie Wei under European PGA Tour

World no. 1 Luke Donald is among those warming up for the Open at Castle Stuart this week

Thanks to Conor, who is apparently “on holiday,” for passing along the link to an interesting take on Castle Stuart’s setup for this week’s Scottish Open.

The switch this year from Loch Lomond to a links-style course was intended to make the event a more attractive prospect for big names looking for a pre-Open warm-up. Naturally, some are anxious for the reaction of world’s best golfers, but those who probably should be most concerned are the most at ease, including co-designer Mark Parsinen, according to Martin Dempster’s report in The Scotsman.

“Most people feel an event of this nature requires a very difficult golf course, but our view is very different,” co-designer Mark Parsinen told The Scotsman. “Our view is that if golfers are getting the chance to make birdies they will enjoy the test while they compete to find the best player of the week.

“Some people might think our course is too generous, but I think it is a course that allows players to attack,” added Parsinen. “In my opinion, what we want is for players to be given the chance to make birdies on the final day and put down a score that stops the leaders from playing defensive golf and making them attack.

“These are the best guys in the world and we embrace the fact that on a quality golf course they should shoot 18-under-par.”

….

“If the person who wins is one of the best players in the world that would be good for us,” admitted Parsinen.

“I don’t want Joe Bloggs ranked 130th in the world to win as that raises a question as to whether the golf course reflects a test that identifies the best guy. But even the European Tour have said that some of the most dramatic events they’ve had have been the ones where the winning scores have been around 18-under-par.”

Quite an honest and refreshing perspective, no?

In my opinion, good shots should be rewarded (unlike the lottery-esque kind of golf that we’ll see at RSG for the Open next week). Sometimes majors are often too focused on arbitrary definitions of the criteria necessary or deserving for hosting a major championship. For example, the US Open calls par-4s instead of par-5s and aiming for even par as a winning score. What’s the point? Why force the issue?

Sometimes in an effort to meet these goals, in turn, tournaments are trying to manufacture history and worthiness, which can corrupt the essence of the tournament.

Anyway, I’m actually quite interested to watch the Scottish Open now (of course, if I can fit it in since I’ll be focused on the US Women’s Open), and player reactions/critiques to Castle Stuart and its setup.