With the annual return of the prestigious Alfred Dunhill Links Championship comes the inevitable, and much anticipated deluge of famous faces descending on this corner of Fife.
The likes of Notting Hill star Hugh Grant, Andy Garcia and rock star Huey Lewis will be pairing up with Major winners such as Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, and Darren Clarke, in one of the richest golf tournaments on the European Tour. There are rumours of an “iceberg” size star heading the way of the good HMS Dunhill but these reports are yet to be confirmed.
With a prize fund of $5million, the Championship incorporates two separate competitions – alongside the professional tournament runs a team contest made up of one golf pro and one amateur. Joining the aforementioned Grant, Garcia, and Lewis in the amateur group are Don Felder from The Eagles, Riverdance idol Michael Flatley, Kyle MacLachlan of Desperate Housewives fame and actors James Nesbitt and Luke Wilson.
The competition is played over three of the world’s best known and respected links courses – the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links. Spanning from Thursday 26 September to Sunday 29 September, it provides a great spectacle which is always well attended by locals, students and tourists alike.
This unique atmosphere provides something for everyone to enjoy, and with free entry for spectators to all three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it is likely to attract a healthy crowd of spectators to witness one of the most highly anticipated events in St Andrews’ calendar.
Andy Garcia, who has starred in such films as The Untouchables, The Godfather III, and Internal Affairs, is particularly looking forward to returning to St Andrews: “I love the place, the people and the atmosphere. It’s a great privilege and I am looking forward to an excellent week on some of the greatest links courses in the world. Hoping the links won’t accentuate my kinks.”
Rock star Huey Lewis, participating despite being in the middle of a concert tour of the US and the UK, was also effusive in his praise of the courses. “It is the amateur equivalent of the Open Championship, wonderful courses, great format. It’s my favourite tournament. I love the banter with the galleries. Everything they say about golf fans in Scotland is true. If you hit a good shot, you’ll get applause.”
Defending champion Branden Grace is returning to Scotland with the aim of becoming the first golfer ever to defend the Alfred Dunhill Links title.
Standing in his way, however, are no fewer than 12 Major Champions. Aside from Els, Oosthuizen and Clarke, the crowd will have a chance to see Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Charl Schwartzel, and Vijay Singh.
The juxtaposition of some of the world’s best pro golfers and the star-studded list of amateurs is sure to provide a mouth-watering contest, which I for one will not want to miss.
As ever, The Saint, with its unrestricted access to the course, clubhouse, press centre and all the best Dunhill events, will be your only worthwhile source for the best of Dunhill coverage.