sept24 dunhilllinks


Two-time Open champion Padraig Harrington, and nine other members of Europe’s defeated Ryder Cup team, will have a chance to make up for the disappointment of their Valhalla defeat  as they bid for the prestigious Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews next week.

Harrington and Ryder Cup players Paul Casey, Soren Hansen, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Robert Karlsson, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood and Oliver Wilson are among the entries for the event which takes place at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns from October 2-5.

Also playing will be defending champion Nick Dougherty and Ross Fisher, both of whom narrowly missed out on automatic Ryder Cup qualification, and two-time winner this year, Darren Clarke, who had been hoping for a wild card pick from captain Nick Faldo.

Scottish golfers have a tremendous record in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and former winners Paul Lawrie (2001), Stephen Gallacher (2004) and Colin Montgomerie (2005) will be in the field again, as will former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance, who won the team championship with his son Daniel in 2003.

Also playing will be South Africans Ernie Els, the 2002 Open champion and twice winner of the US Open, and two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen.

Harrington, who made history when he became the first European to win two Open Championships in a row since James Braid in 1906, and then also added the US PGA title, said: “I am very much looking forward to coming back and trying to make it a hat-trick of Dunhill victories. I always enjoy the Dunhill. I find it good fun playing with the amateurs, but it’s also one of the most important and valuable tournaments on the European Tour.

"My victory two years ago set me off on a terrific run which saw me win my first European Tour Order of Merit title, then go on to win the Open at Carnoustie and then Birkdale.”

Defending champion Nick Dougherty said: “To win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship you have to beat one of the best fields of the year. It’s one of the biggest events on the European Tour which attracts the stronger players."

The championship was conceived as a celebration of links golf and will be played over three of the world’s best known and respected links courses – the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie, and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links.

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.

Past participants include Sir Ian Botham, Sir Bobby Charlton, Johan Cruyff, Morné du Plessis, actor Hugh Grant, Ruud Gullit, Ronan Keating, world champion skier Franz Klammer, actor and TV star Kyle MacLachlan, Sir Steve Redgrave and Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres.

Entrance 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 5. Entry for under 16s and students is free. Tickets are available through the ticket hotline on 0870 010 9021 or at the gate. There is free parking for spectators and a free shuttle bus service will be in operation between the courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.