Scotland’s top golfer Paul Lawrie and England’s World Number Four Lee Westwood lead the home challenge for this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
Both players are former winners but they will be up against a strong field which includes no fewer than 11 Major champions.
Westwood, who won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2003, said: “I'm hoping for two memorable weeks: victory for The Ryder Cup team in the United States and then back to St Andrews for a second Dunhill victory.
“My last Dunhill win was very important for me and it would be great to repeat that. It's always a terrific tournament to play in and it's on three fantastic links courses, so I am looking forward to it.”
And Lawrie said: “I’m really enjoying my golf and things have been going very well for me recently. Winning the inaugural Dunhill Links in 2001 was a very important victory for me, and of course I know Carnoustie very well after my Open win in 1999, so I’m hoping I can have a good four days – it will be nice to play with my son Craig and relax a little after the stresses of The Ryder Cup.”
Current Open champion and four-time Major winner Ernie Els leads a strong South African contingent, including 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and 2011 US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke, a superlative player of links golf courses, will be at St Andrews trying to win his first Alfred Dunhill Links title.
Ireland’s three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington will be back to see if he can win a unique third Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, having taken the title in 2002 and 2006, and Germany’s Martin Kaymer who won in 2010 – the same year he won the USPGA Championship – will be looking for a repeat victory.
Other Major Champions in the field include Americans Rich Beem, the irrepressible John Daly and Shaun Micheel, plus New Zealand’s Michael Campbell.
Also in the field, bolstering the home challenge, will be Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie and Martin Laird, plus England’s Paul Casey, Simon Dyson, winner in 2009, and Ross Fisher.
Defending champion Michael Hoey from Northern Ireland will be returning to St Andrews hoping to become the first golfer to win back-to-back Alfred Dunhill Links titles.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which celebrates links golf at its finest, is played over three of the world’s best known and respected links courses – the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links.
With a prize fund of US$5 million, the championship incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament for the world's leading golfers and a team event in which the professionals are paired with some of the most celebrated amateur golfers which creates a unique atmosphere.
Among the amateurs who have played in the Championship have been film and TV stars Hugh Grant, Greg Kinnear and Kyle MacLachlan and music legends Huey Lewis and Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres. There is always a strong sporting feel to the amateur field, which has included Olympic legends Sir Matthew Pinsent and Sir Steve Redgrave, Dutch football legends Johan Cruyff and Ruud Gullit, former England player Jamie Redknapp and Scottish defender Alan Hansen, a strong team of cricketers in Sir Ian Botham, Andrew Strauss, Steve Waugh and Shane Warne and rugby’s Morné du Plessis and Gavin Hastings.
Entrance to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 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 7. Entry for under 16s and students is free. Tickets are available through the ticket hotline on 0844 581 4922 or at the entrance gates.