Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie is the latest big name to confirm that he will be among the world class field competing in the 10th Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Three of this year’s major championship winners, Louis Oosthuizen, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer, have already announced they will play.
In one of the strongest fields ever assembled for the prestigious event, to be held from October 7-10, also entered from the world top 50 are: Lee Westwood (3), Rory McIlroy (8), Ernie Els (11), Edoardo Molinari (16), Retief Goosen (17), Padraig Harrington (22), Ross Fisher (27), Charl Schwartzel (34), Robert Karlsson (39) and Peter Hanson (42).
Montgomerie, who will be coming to play at St Andrews the week after he leads Europe against the United States in the Ryder Cup, said: “It’s hard to believe that this will be the 10th year of the event, but I'd like to congratulate Alfred Dunhill on creating this unique and different tournament.
"It is billed as 'a celebration of links golf' and it is certainly that - played over three of the finest links courses in the world. I have enjoyed playing in every one since 2001 and over the years I've played with and met a great many interesting people and had a lot of fun - especially in 2005 when I managed to win."
South African Oosthuizen will be coming back to St Andrews, the scene of his greatest triumph in July when he won the Open Championship, to attempt to win his first Alfred Dunhill title. Northern Ireland’s McDowell, winner of the US Open after a gritty performance at Pebble Beach, will be trying to go one better than he did in 2004 when he lost in a sudden death play-off on the Old Course to Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher.
And Germany’s Martin Kaymer can expect a warm welcome from the Scottish galleries following his dramatic play-off victory over American Bubba Watson at Whistling Straits in the US PGA Championship in August.
Oosthuizen, 27, said: “It will be wonderful to return to St Andrews so soon after The Open. This is a very special place and walking up the last hole in July was an unforgettable experience. I have loved playing in the Dunhill over the years and it would be great if I could make it a St Andrews double by winning again in October.”
McDowell, 31, said: “I love playing links courses so this championship is one of my favourites. The US Open win at Pebble Beach has made this a memorable year, and victory on the Old Course in the Alfred Dunhill Links would make it even more special.”
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 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. Defending champion is England’s Simon Dyson.
With a prize fund of US$5 million, the championship incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament for the world's leading golfers and a team event in which the professionals are paired with some of the most celebrated amateur golfers which creates a unique atmosphere.
Among the celebrities who took part last year were film and TV stars Hugh Grant, Greg Kinnear, Kyle MacLachlan, John O’Hurley and Aidan Quinn, and music legends Don Felder, co-writer of Hotel California from the Eagles, Huey Lewis and American country singer Clay Walker.
A trio of Britain’s sporting knights – Sir Ian Botham, Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Steve Redgrave - led a locker room full of sporting heroes, including Dutch football legends Johann Cruyff and Ruud Gullit, former England player Jamie Redknapp and Scottish star Alan Hansen.
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 10. 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.