- I congratulate Alfred Dunhill on this splendid initiative, says Ernie
- Open champion Padraig Harrington bids for third Dunhill crown
- Hugh Grant, Samuel L Jackson, Dennis Hopper in amateur line-up
- Played over the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns
Championship dates: Thursday, October 4 - Sunday, October 7, 2007
ST ANDREWS, October 3, 2007 - A spectacular collection of the world's great golf stars and the most enthusiastic and well-known amateur golfers will be playing this week in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews - and spectators can see it all for FREE on the first three days.
The tournament, conceived as a celebration of links golf, 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 - from Thursday, October 4 - Sunday, October 7. There is also free parking for spectators and a free shuttle bus service will operate between the courses.
South Africa's popular World No 5 Ernie Els said: "I think this is a splendid idea and I would like to congratulate Alfred Dunhill on this initiative. I play golf all round the world and I can't think of anywhere that you have such an exciting line-up for a golf tournament which the spectators can watch for free. I love playing in Scotland and I think the fans are incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic, so I think it's great that they can benefit from this generous opportunity and get up close to the professionals and the amateurs."
In addition to Els, the world-class professional line-up includes Open champion Padraig Harrington, who will be bidding for a third Dunhill title, local Scottish hero Colin Montgomerie, Michael Campbell, the 2005 US Open champion, Steve Elkington, winner of the 1995 US PGA championship and Europe's Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo. Plus players from the World-s top 25, including Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Niclas Fasth, Trevor Immelman, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. Former champions Paul Lawrie, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood, winner of the recent British Masters, will also be in the field.
Among the amateurs playing are Hollywood stars Dennis Hopper, Samuel L Jackson, Kyle MacLachlan and Bill Murray, popular British actors Hugh Grant and Dougray Scott, US TV star Ray Romano from Everybody Loves Raymond, George Lopez, US sitcom writer and actor, music stars Don Felder of the Eagles, Ronan Keating, Huey Lewis and Tico Torres of Bon Jovi.
Three of Britain's greatest sporting knights - Sir Ian Botham, Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Steve Redgrave - lead a strong locker room of sports stars including football legends Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit and Matthew Le Tissier, Wimbledon tennis hero Boris Becker, cricket captains Michael Vaughan from England and Steve Waugh from Australia, South African rugby giant Morn頤u Plessis, American Football's renowned running back Marcus Allen and Austria's Olympic gold medal skier Franz Klammer.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship has a unique format. With a prize fund of US$5 million, it incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament for the world's leading golfers and a team event in which they are paired with some of the most celebrated amateur golfers.
168 teams of one professional and one amateur contest the first three rounds, with one round being played at each of the three courses in rotation. Two competitions are played concurrently - individual professional and team. The team score will be the best net score of the two players at each hole. After 54 holes the field reduces to the leading 60 professionals and ties, plus the 20 leading teams, all of whom play the final round over the Old Course at St Andrews.
Play will be in four-ball groups and in order to accommodate as many players as practical, all four rounds will start from both the first and tenth tees at all courses.
Entrance to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship will be FREE at all three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A ticket price of £15 (concessionary £10) will be charged for the final day's play over the Old Course on Sunday, October 7. Entry for under 16s and students is free. Tickets are available through the ticket hotline on 0870 010 9021 or at the entrance gates. There is free parking for spectators and a free shuttle bus service will be in operation between the courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Queries regarding accreditation should be e-mailed to Frances Jennings at the European Tour on FJennings@europeantour.com