After a thrilling Ryder Cup, the European Tour heads to the east coast of Scotland this week for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Simon Dyson defends the title over the Old Course at St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie.
The European Tour’s best face a stern examination in the event as they battle round three testing links tracks, probably, in gruelling Scottish autumn conditions.
Two competitions run concurrently at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Firstly, a professional 72-hole strokeplay tournament and, secondly, a pro-am competition where the lowest score between the professional and his amateur partner is taken at each hole. The first three rounds are played over St Andrews Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie and those who make the cut play a final round over the Old Course.
The event always attracts a high-class field both professional and amateur and this year will be no different. On the golfing side, three of this year’s Major champions are on the start sheet. USPGA champion Martin Kaymer, US Open winner and Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell and Open champion Louis Oosthuizen will all play. In addition, Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Edoardo Molinari, Francesco Molinari, Padraig Harrington, Ross Fisher and Peter Hanson will take to the links.
Famous amateurs competing include Hugh Grant, Huey Lewis, Sir Steve Redgrave and Johann Cruyff.
Venue: Old Course St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns
Date: Oct 7-10
Course stats: Old – par 72, 7,350 yards; Carnoustie – par 72, 7,142 yards; Kingsbarns – par 72, 7,160 yards
Purse: €3,425,000 Winner: €530,000
Defending Champion: Simon Dyson (-20)
Thursday 7 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 1.30pm
Friday 8 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 1.30pm
Saturday 9 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 1.30pm
Sunday 10 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12.30pm
Graeme McDowell – He’ll be riding the crest of a wave after his performance at the Ryder Cup. He’s played well in this tournament in the past so should be right up there on Sunday afternoon
Rory McIlroy – The youngster was runner-up in this event last year. He might have won the Open at St Andrews had it not been for a disastrous second round and he’ll be buoyed after the Ryder Cup – it could be a winning combination.
Robert Karlsson – A winner here two years ago, Karlsson will be looking for a good finish to the season. He will have watched the action at Celtic Manor feeling depressed to have not been involved, a victory here would be the perfect tonic.
Key hole: 17th Old Course. The most famous hole in world golf, if the competition is tight as the leaders reach the Road Hole for the final time this is where it’ll be won and lost.
Skills required: Dealing with the conditions on the east coast of Scotland in early October can be testing. The winning professional will not let the weather put him off.
Adaptability – Three courses means the players will have to answer the different questions posed by each. Plus, they’ll have to deal with partnering an amateur golfer.