Dunhill in the right place at “The Home of Golf”

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Truth be told, it’s been a rather peculiar few days.

From the open bars and free lunches to sitting in a Rory Mcilroy press conference as he stoked the fires of Ryder Cup captaincy and told us that Patrick Reed, the American Ryder Cup rookie, has no authority whatsoever.

Attending the Alfred Dunhill Links Competition as part of the press has been a privilege as much as it has been an experience.

Standing by the first tee on Thursday morning was quite something. Behind me on the putting green, Liverpool legends Alan Hansen and Jamie Redknapp were sharing a laugh as they prepared to take on this hallowed turf. On the tee, Ruud Gullit and Sir Bobby Charlton were waiting for Michael Ballack and Luis Figo to clear the fairway.

If you were looking to make an over-age football team, the Dunhill wouldn’t be a bad to place to recruit.

Yet none of these legends were taking anything for granted. When in St Andrews, all are humbled in the presence of its majesty. Sheer, unrivalled and spectacular beauty.

Not to mention history.

Professionals and amateurs alike are incredibly relaxed off the course, however. Despite being the butt of an extremely poor joke, if I may say so, of Sir Bobby’s most are willing to chat freely.

Ernie Els described St Andrews, both the course and the place, as “almost spiritual” whilst Michael Vaughan and Shane Warne were in agreement that this is the pinnacle of golf.

When the sun has just begun to set and you take a look down the fairway in front of the R&A clubhouse, even those who have played at Lords and the MCG can only bask in such a god-like wonder.

That man Redknapp was certainly unreserved in his praise. He “absolutely loves the place, you can’t not, it’s the home of golf.”

“It makes your hair stand on end when you walk up the 1st and the 18th. It’s a great place to come.”

And this is coming from someone who knows what an occasion is. During a very successful football career he lifted the League Cup, UEFA Cup and the FA Cup yet when the choice was put to him of winning an FA cup at Wembley or The Open at the St Andrews, there was only ever one winner.

Even for those who compete in other sports, our small little town is still the pinnacle.

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