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Monday, 26 September 2011
Martin Kaymer - 2010 Champion  (Getty Images)
Martin Kaymer - 2010 Champion (Getty Images)

The great and the good from the worlds of golf, sport and show business will once again gather in the Home of Golf at St Andrews for the annual Pro-Am extravaganza that is the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

While the legends of sport, film, television and music have the privilege of testing their golfing abilities over the Old Course, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, The European Tour’s finest will get down to the serious business of going after one of the most sought after titles in world golf.

Martin Kaymer will defend the trophy he won so impressively 12 months ago, just six days after Europe’s unforgettable Ryder Cup victory over the USA in Wales.

Joining the German among the headline acts at the Home of Golf are the game’s very best, with five of the top six players in the Official World Golf Ranking – Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Kaymer himself, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson – in attendance, underlining the importance and popularity of the US$5 million tournament.

Of course, the list of elite players does not stop there. A total of 15 of the world’s top 50 will make the trip to Scotland, including Major Champions Darren Clarke, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Graeme McDowell.

Other Major winners in attendance include Padraig Harrington, who is chasing a hat-trick of Alfred Dunhill Links Championship victories, Louis Oosthuizen, Michael Campbell, John Daly, Todd Hamilton, Paul Lawrie and Sandy Lyle.

For Harrington, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, will represent another opportunity to test his new swing in tournament conditions following his tied 36th place finish at last week’s Austrian GolfOpen presented by Lyoness, and he hopes the Pro-Am format will be a welcome distraction to the “some of the junk flying around my head at the moment”.

The three-time Major winner admits to being his own worst enemy on the golf course at times, but this week’s event could be the perfect solution to catapult him back towards the summit of the World Rankings, The Race to Dubai and The Ryder Cup qualification tables.

“I love the Dunhill,” said Harrington. “You couldn’t ask to play better tournament golf anywhere in the world and I just love the format. There’s really no negative to the tournament as far as I am concerned.

“The format will be great for me in terms of keeping a lot of the swing thoughts that I am having at the moment out of my head. I can relax, chat with the amateurs and keep my mind free.

“Also, even if I make a bogey at hole, my partner might just make a par or a birdie and all of a sudden I’ll be delighted. It really is a very positive week for me at the right time.”

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