Sir Nick Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, is to play in this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Sir Nick, who won both the Open Championship and The Masters three times, joins Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer, winners of three of the four Majors in 2014, in the event, which begins on Thursday (October 2) in St Andrews.
Sir Nick won one of his Open Championships at St Andrews in 1990 and is looking forward to returning to the Old Course.
He said: “It was great for me to go to St Andrews then, on a sunny and breezy day, and win after winning The Masters in April. I had enough of a lead to really enjoy the walk up 18 and the crowd arena. The feelings and the images are clear in my mind and very special. The town has its own special buzz and, of course, it is the Home of Golf and I feel that.”
He will be playing three courses during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, so how does he rate them?
“Obviously, St. Andrews is special. Carnoustie is always tough, so I hope to catch a break there, and Kingsbarns is the modern version of a links course,” he said. “Each is enjoyable in its own way.”
Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer have had brilliant summers. McIlroy won back-to-back Major Championships at The Open at Hoylake and the US PGA at Valhalla, plus the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, while US Open champion Kaymer also won The Players Championship at Sawgrass. Both arrive at St Andrews fresh from outstanding performances on the final day of the Ryder Cup.
Competing against them on the golf course, rather than leading them as he did in the 16½-11½ victory over the United States, will be European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley. Also playing from the European Ryder Cup team are Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher, plus vice-captain Padraig Harrington.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which takes place from October 2-5, is 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.
In addition to Faldo, McIlroy, Harrington and Kaymer, other Major Champions in the field include Ernie Els, Sandy Lyle, Darren Clarke, Paul Lawrie, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and David Duvall.
Colin Montgomerie, who has won two senior Major Championships this year - the Senior PGA Championship and the US Senior Open - is also playing.
He said: “The two wins in America were big for me, to finally win two Majors. I think I’ve got my confidence back again and I’m holing putts. I think the iron shots, the putting, the chipping is as good as it ever was, in fact I think it’s almost better. I’m really looking forward to the Alfred Dunhill Links.”
Defending champion David Howell will be returning to St Andrews, hoping to become the first golfer to win back-to-back Alfred Dunhill Links titles.
Among the celebrity amateurs playing are film and TV stars Hugh Grant, Damian Lewis, Greg Kinnear and Kyle MacLachlan, rock legends Don Felder, Huey Lewis and Tico Torres and many great sporting idols including Sir Bobby Charlton, Johan Cruyff, Sir Ian Botham, Shane Warne, Brian O’Driscoll, Sir Steve Redgrave, Tim Henman and Damon Hill.
This is the 30th year in which Alfred Dunhill has supported golf in St Andrews, beginning in 1985 with the Alfred Dunhill Cup, then from 2001 with the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Entrance to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship will be FREE at all three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A ticket price of £20 (concessionary £15) 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 0844 581 4922 or at the entrance gates.