Rory McIlroy hopes to complete his golfing year on a “real high” with victory in next month’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
The enormously popular Northern Ireland golfer, currently world number six, will be looking for his first ever victory in the prestigious European Tour event, having finished runner-up in 2009, 2011 and 2014.
The four-time Major Champion has had a close relationship with the Alfred Dunhill Links over the years.
In 2007, at 18, he became the youngest player to earn a European Tour card from tournament play when he finished third.
He added: “The Alfred Dunhill Links is a great, late season event and I really enjoy the format. Played over three world-class courses I greatly respect, I can’t wait to come back again.
“The support I’ve had from the Scottish and visiting fans has always been fantastic and I have had some wonderful memories on these courses. I won my European Tour card after the 2007 Championship and I’ve played with my dad a couple of times since – always very special experiences and times I’ll never forget.”
McIlroy heads a world-class field in the celebration of links golf, played over the Old Course St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, from October 5-8.
Also confirmed is world number 16 Tommy Fleetwood and a classic line-up of Major Championship winners, including Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell and Danny Willett, plus current Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and vice-captain Robert Karlsson, who won the tournament in 2008. Also in the field are former world number one Luke Donald, Ross Fisher, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Branden Grace, Chris Wood and Lee Westwood. Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton returns to St Andrews, attempting to become the first to win back-to-back Alfred Dunhill Links titles.
The Alfred Dunhill Links has a prize fund of US$5 million.
(continued on page 48)incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament for the world’s leading golfers and a team championship in which the professionals are paired with amateur golfers which creates a unique atmosphere.
Among the amateurs confirmed so far are actor Jamie Dornan, rock stars Ronan Keating, Brian McFadden and Tom Chaplin, plus legendary sportsmen Sir Ian Botham, Sir Steve Redgrave, rugby’s Brian O’Driscoll, former England footballer Jamie Redknapp, cricketers Shane Warne, Kevin Pietersen, Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis and Mark Nicholas and horse racing’s Sir Anthony (A.P.) McCoy.
In June 2011 the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation was established as the official Foundation of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The Foundation is committed to developing young amateur golfers in Scotland and South Africa and also supports the University of St Andrews and the St Andrews Pilgrim Foundation, which refurbishes and preserves historical monuments in the town.
Admission is free for all spectators over the first three days with final day tickets on Sunday, October 8 available to purchase at the entrance gates for £20 (Seniors £15) or in advance.