McDowell apologizes for Castle Stuart criticism


Two weeks after claiming that the Scottish Open's move to Castle Stuart Golf Links has caused the event to lose 'its identity and its prestige,' Graeme McDowell has reportedly reached out to the event's sponsor to apologize for his comments.

A winner last week at the French Open, his third title in his last eight worldwide starts, McDowell is not in the field this week at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and has not played in the event since its first, rain-soaked venture to Castle Stuart in 2011. Last month, the Ulsterman spoke out against the course that this week hosts the event for the third time.

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'Castle Stuart probably has not been a strong enough golf course,' explained McDowell, who won the event at Loch Lomond in 2008. 'It is a beautiful venue – but probably a little too wide open off the tee and a little one-dimensional.'

According to Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, the former U.S. Open champion recently reached out to help soften the blow from his earlier comments.

'Graeme contacted me to apologize,' Gilbert explained to Sky Sports. 'He's not the first person to say something they regret, so we've got no problems whatsoever with him.'

While Gilbert admitted some of McDowell's points about the contrast between old and new links-style courses had merit, he reiterated that the event will not be transitioning away from links golf anytime soon.

'I'm firmly of the view that the Scottish Open should be played on a links course,' said Gilbert, who added he hopes McDowell returns to the field when the venue shifts to Royal Aberdeen in 2014. 'If we don't play this event on a links course, it would be crazy.'