In a town where you know everyone else, bumping in to Tim Henman outside the pub is a bit of a shock. On the first weekend of October celebrities of the acting and sporting worlds descended upon St Andrews for the 2011 Dunhill Links Championship.
Oscar winner Michael Douglas celebrated his recovery from cancer by returning to the ‘Home of Golf’ after a year away being ill, while Olympic rowers Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent demonstrated their other sporting talents. Rory McIlroy, the recent US Open Champion who usually prefers the sun of the American tour, braved the St Andrews rain.
Geography student Angus Roberts spotted the Northern Irishman “out for a run,” and he was also reported to be seen in the University gym.
There was, of course, the annual hunt for actor Hugh Grant, which ended in disappointment for Tania Valyaeva, studying IR. “He reminded me a bit of a shy deer in the middle of the road, paralysed by the lights of a car. He fled the scene very quickly.”
Radio DJ Chris Evans, however, was more than happy to steal the limelight. He and golfer Nick Dougherty claimed the team competition title. Their winning partnership of 40 under was just four off the record.
Some of golf’s top stars were playing, but the celebrities stole their thunder. Ross Davidson, an Economics student, said the tournament “creates a real buzz around the town…Someone saw Shane Warne in Tesco.”
While Warne was busy polishing a sapphire ring for his marriage proposal to Liz Hurley, the pro golfers put their feet up. Angus Roberts spotted a few at the Jigger Inn: “They were all sitting having fags and pints together and Darren Clarke brought out his miniature Claret Jug,” said Roberts. “They were acting like a bunch of normal guys.”
“Normal guys” they were for one weekend as their amateur playing partners eclipsed them at the Old Course.