New Traditions Begin at Dunhill Links Championship


The highly-anticipated Dunhill Links Championship commences this week on the European Tour, spotlighting a cast of the worlds best golfers and some high-profile amateurs in a celebration of Links golf.
The event will be held at three of the great courses in the game ' The Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and recently-opened Kingsbarns Golf Links ' and will pit 156 teams consisting of one professional and one amateur in a specially-designed format.
Over the first three rounds, each team will play every course once with the team score derived from the best net score of the two members at each hole.
Following the 54-hole mark, the field will be reduced to the top-60 professionals plus the leading 20 teams, who will all play the final round at St. Andrews.
A total purse of $5 million (not to mention a winners check of $800,000) has drawn out some of the worlds best.
Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Bjorn and Order of Merit leader Retief Goosen are all scheduled to play.
Also in the field are Steve Elkington, Jose Maria Olazabal, Padraig Harrington and Ian Woosnam, winner of last weeks Cisco World Match Play Championship.
Woosnam has been on a comeback trail this year, nearly winning the British Open over the summer and dominating every match he contested last week.
As is the case, he may well be a dark horse to prevail at this inaugural event.
If nothing else, however, he will have the opportunity to compete with some high-profile celebrities.
Entered to compete are Hollywoods Michael Douglas, Samuel Jackson, Kurt Russell and Country and Western star Clay Walker. From the sporting arena will be the likes of Nigel Mansell, Franz Klammer and Nasser Hussain.
Prior to 2001, this event was known as the Alfred Dunhill Cup. It did not include amateurs, and was instead played with national teams, each consisting of three professionals.
Spain titled in the last edition of 2000, with Miguel Angel Martin holing a 50-foot birdie putt at St. Andrews 18th to effectively end the teams match with South Africa.