Catchy little slogans are everywhere. Here at The Herald, for instance, we like to champion the chin-stroking trinity of “Analysis, Insight, Opinion”.

That is until you get to this back page, of course, and you’re greeted with a splatter of rambling bletherations that have about as much mental nourishment as a balloon on a stick.

Over in the USA, meanwhile, the PGA Tour’s motto boasts the phrase “Live Under Par” which, for crude amateurs like ourselves, is an entirely alien concept given that we continue to eke out a grim, futile golfing existence that’s woefully over par in its flustered, flapping, flabbergasting incompetence.

Concocting snazzy soundbites and jazzy jargon, of course, is the job of those smooth-talking, funky marketing folk who could probably put a cheery spin on the Four Minute Warning.

I remember trawling through a World Cup website and up popped a message from a household cleaning agent manufacturer, which was one of the event’s official partners, jovially suggesting that we should all “share in the drama and the exhilaration of the World Cup” by purchasing one of its products.

Presumably, nothing encapsulated the agony, the ecstasy, the sacrifice and the aptitude of inspiring athletic endeavour quite like a box of white washing powder that removes stubborn stains on a 30 degrees cycle.


There was no such spin, meanwhile, from Rory McIlroy at the weekend who had a little pop at the set up of the courses at the Dunhill Links Championship before recalling the frustrations he felt at the Scottish Open earlier in the season.

In case you missed it, here’s what the Northern Irishman said at the conclusion of play over the Old Course on Sunday night. “You know, I’m sort of sick of coming back over to the European Tour and shooting 15-under par and finishing 30th,” said McIlroy of his overall total at the Dunhill.

READ MORE: McIlroy takes a swing at Euro Tour course set up

“I don’t think the courses are set up hard enough. It happened at the Scottish Open, at The Renaissance, as well,” added McIlroy, who was 13-under then and shared 34th. “It’s not a good test. I think if the European Tour want to put forth a really good product, the golf courses and set ups need to be tougher.”

For the media masses, of course, this was gold. McIlroy’s honest and frank musings have always been welcomed particularly in an age when shuffling PR goons and tip-toe-ing managers want their clients to speak in carefully sub-edited, inoffensive press releases that are as bland as a cupful of thin gruel. McIlroy can live to regret them, though.

His assessment a few years ago, for instance, that the Ryder Cup was just an “exhibition” went down like a sack of spanners while his grumbling after a torrid day of wind and rain at the 2011 Open at Sandwich – “I’d rather play when it’s 80 degrees and sunny and not much wind” – led to him being pilloried for displaying a molly-coddled attitude.


McIlroy’s comments at the weekend were certainly eye-brow raising too but they had a hint of the sour grapes about them. Having a go at the Dunhill Links set-up, with its generous pin positions to accommodate the amateur players in the event, was a very, very easy target, particularly when the conditions were largely benign too.

Complaining about that is like saying the Anstruther and District Musical Society’s version of Starlight Express lacked the pizzazz of the West End. And we didn’t hear Rory bleating when he won the Canadian Open by seven with a 22-under total which included a closing 61 did we?

After a good night’s sleep, McIlroy, who has played just four regular European Tour events this year, issued some clarification about his comments yesterday and conceded the Dunhill Links was not a suitable target for his ire.

READ MORE: Victor Perez wins the Dunhill Links Championship

His wider concerns remained, though. “I would personally like to see tougher set-ups in Europe because it will produce better, more complete, young players in the future and that can only be a good thing for the game and our Ryder Cup chances,” wrote McIlroy on social media.

At the same time, though, the European Tour has produced, and continues to produce, some terrific talent and Team Europe has won seven Ryder Cups in the last 20 years.

The American world No 1, Brooks Koepka, who sharpened his teeth on the European Challenge Tour, always maintained that the wide and varied terrains of golf on this side of the pond helped him develop a more worldly-wise game. Look where he is now?

Only last week, meanwhile, fellow American Billy Horschel was gushing with praise and extolling the virtues of Wentworth and the BMW PGA Championship as he urged his countrymen to travel and play what he felt was a thinking man’s course that “still holds up” in the modern era.

READ MORE: McIlroy says Carnoustie is getting "easier"

And on that particular topic, McIlroy was bang on. “Strategy, course management and shot making are important aspects of tournament golf that are being slowly taken out of the game at the top level, not just in Europe but worldwide,” he continued in his Monday address.

In this crash, bang, wallop age, when balls can be propelled so far they are just about travelling through different time zones, the emphasis of power over precision, force over feel or clatters over craft continues to push the top end of golf down a one-dimensional road.

The blasting of 350 yard drives may be viewed as gasp-inducing entertainment but pitch and putt thereafter wears thin.

McIlroy’s words have got people across the golfing spectrum talking. And that can only be a good thing.