By Brian Keogh
Paul McGinley believes European golf needs some tough love to break its Major drought.
But he insists he is not to blame for the US Open style set-up that sent scores soaring and players moaning Adare Manor.
The Dubliner, 40, is convinced that tight fairways and deep rough are just what Europe’s best needs to get ready for the American majors - even if it’s no fun to watch.
After slashing his way to a level par 72, he said: "Some people might not like seeing us hacking out of the rough. But in terms of preparation from major championships it is spot on.
"That’s what we need to do if we are going to prepare ourselves for playing tough golf courses in America.
"It is an eye opener when you play a European Tour event and you go over to US Open and you go into the rough and it’s a penalty shot. It’s a big eye opener.
"I think if you prepare for it better, there’s a better chance that you’ll conquer it when you get there."
Two-time major winner Sandy Lyle opened with a level par 72 and immediately shot down McGinley’s claim that tougher courses will bring Europe its first major win since 1999.
Lyle rapped: "Europe has managed very well in the middle 80s to win majors when we had guys over here like myself, Seve, Langer, Woosie and Faldo and that's without having heavy rough.
"Though it doesn't do a lot for me when you have all these narrow fairways and heavy rough. I would rather see some rough that presents a bit of a challenge but not rough that completely handcuffs you where you can only move the ball 30 yards.
"So that's not much fun to watch and it's not much fun for the players either and I really didn't hear that many roars out there today and that was very much the case for three-and-a-half days at Augusta."
McGinley had five birdies and five bogeys in a roller-coaster effort in which he hit just THREE fairways.
And that figure made a mockery of claims that McGinley had the course changed to suit his normal straight-hitting style.
He said: "The onus is on hitting fairways, which obviously suits me better. Having said that, I had nothing to do with the set up at all.
"I discussed it with nobody and I have nothing to do with it. I didn’t realise how bad the rough was until I got down here."
The Irish star admitted that the horrible weather conditions in recent years could also make the Irish Open a black date on the European Tour calendar.
And he fears that the toughness of the test this week could backfire on Ireland and prompt players to skip the event next season.
He said: "I’m worried about that and I am worried about the European Open as well. We haven’t been blessed with good weather in Ireland.
"The three tournaments we had last year were not alone bad weather, they were horrendous weather.
"I’ve talked this place up to a lot of players coming here this week and a lot of them will be disappointed with how tough the golf course is playing.
"I don’t know of any players who might not come back next year. But it doesn’t take much for a professional golfer to moan."
McGinley has become the butt of a few locker-room jokes for the new tees that have stretched Adare Manor to over 7,400 yards.
The new eighth tee is overlooked by a massive boulder that bears the inscription "McGinley’s Tee."
The tee was built after McGinley sat down for a pint with owner Tom Kane after his Irish PGA win at Adare four years ago and said the course needed more length.
And while the markers were pushed up 16 yards there and reduced the hole to 465 yards, the Dubliner vehemently denies that it was all his idea.
He joked: "I didn’t have anything to do with ‘McGinley’s Tee.’ I’m going to blame the drink. Never discuss business over a drink."