A unique championship played at the Home of Golf
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is one of the world’s leading golf events. It is a magnet for golfers from every corner of the globe. A celebration of links golf, it is played over three magnificent courses – the Old Course (St Andrews), the Championship Course, Carnoustie (near Dundee) and Kingsbarns Golf Links (10km south of St Andrews).
For golfers everywhere the Old Course at St Andrews is a unique place. Here history and sport come together in a magical way. Golf has been played over these links for hundreds of years. It is universally acknowledged as the ‘Home of Golf’ and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is the only major professional tournament played every year at St Andrews.
The championship has a unique format, incorporating two separate competitions – an individual professional tournament for the world’s leading golfers with a US$5 million prize fund, and a team competition which features some of the most celebrated amateur golfers playing alongside the professionals.
Many of the greatest players such as Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Sir Nick Faldo, Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Colin Montgomerie, Louis Oosthuizen and Vijay Singh have played in the Championship, Amateurs have included entertainment stars such as Michael Douglas, Samuel L Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Hugh Grant and Jamie Dornan. They have shared the fairways with sporting greats like Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Ian Botham, Boris Becker, Ruud Gullit and Michael Phelps.
The first Championship was staged in 2001, but Alfred Dunhill’s connection with St Andrews, through the Alfred Dunhill Cup, goes back to 1985, giving an unbroken span of more than 30 years supporting golf at St Andrews.
The Action: Year by Year
England’s Tyrrell Hatton showed the world he is going to be the next big name in British golf with an emphatic win in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
Playing with a maturity and panache that belied his 24 years, Hatton added a 66 on the Old Course to his record-equalling third round 62 for a four-shot victory over England’s Ross Fisher and South Africa’s Richard Sterne.
Hatton said: “It feels amazing. I've wanted this moment since I was a six-year-old. It’s a dream come true and to do it here at the Home of Golf is fantastic. I’m just happy I got over the line. It’s been a fantastic week. I had my girlfriend Emily with me and my management team. And to come away with a trophy, just makes it even more special.”
It was Hatton’s first win on the European Tour and his score of 23-under-par tied the lowest total in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, achieved by David Howell and Peter Uihlein in 2013. He wins US$800,000 and moves up to fourth in the Race to Dubai. It continues an excellent year for him in which he has had a fifth place in the Open Championship and a tenth place finish in the USPGA.
The Team Championship was won by Masters champion Danny Willett, who played with his regular caddie Jonathan Smart to win the first prize of $50,000. Willett raised his arms in triumph when Smart’s winning putt dropped and then hugged him, saying later: “Jon rose to the occasion and carried me all week. I invited him to have a taste of what it’s like on my side of things and he’s won his first event. He played some great golf.”
A wonder putt the length of the 15th green was the defining moment as Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen celebrated the biggest day of his golfing life with victory in the 15th Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews. Olesen, who finished runner-up four years ago, shot a final round 71 for a two-shot win over Americans Brooks Koepka and Chris Stroud to finally take the prestigious title, but it was a close run thing.
Ahead by three at the start of the day, it looked as if Olesen was throwing his chances away with a double bogey six at the 2nd, where he was caught under the lip of a bunker and had to come out backwards, and a bogey at the 3rd. He must have been thinking back to 2012 when he was level with Branden Grace with seven holes to go, but lost by two shots.
Immediate birdies at the 4th and 5th got him up and running, but it was not until the spectacular birdie at the 15th that he could at last relax and savour the moment.
Olesen, 25, said: “Standing here with this trophy is unbelievable. Definitely more personal and very emotional. It's been a very tough season for me and I would like to give special thanks to everyone who has been there for me.”
The Team Championship was won by former Bayern Munich and Chelsea footballer Michael Ballack and German professional Florian Fritsch.
As England's Oliver Wilson sank his final putt at St Andrews to win the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, his wife Lauren, who had flown up from London without telling her husband, raced on to give him a celebratory hug.
It was a huge moment for this great event's most unlikely champion - an invitee who lost his European Tour card in 2011 and had never won in 229 previous attempts.
Wilson, the world No.792, had led overnight, but was being pursued by the biggest name in golf - Rory McIlroy. The swollen crowds had come to St Andrews to see the Open champion make his charge, but that ended at the 17th hole, as McIlroy putted into the road hole bunker and dropped a shot. He would finish second, along with Scotland's Richie Ramsay, who bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes, and Tommy Fleetwood, who missed an eight-footer at the final hole which would have forced a play-off.
As these challenges faded, Wilson - who had finished second nine times on the Tour - held his nerve to finish with a 17-under-par total of 271. His reward was a two-year European Tour exemption, the biggest payday of his career, and a surprise visit from his wife.
He said: "So many people had written me off and that hurt, but I kept believing. A lot of people had a part in this and I can't thank them enough. This is pretty special. It's been a long time coming and I have a lot of champagne on hold. It's going to be a good party. To have the invite to play here, I can't thank people enough."
The Team Championship was won by Peter Lawrie and Kieran McManus, the son of the race horse owner JP McManus.
England’s David Howell dramatically rolled in an eight foot birdie putt on the second hole of sudden death on the Old Course in St Andrews to beat talented young American Peter Uihlein and win the 2013 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
It was Howell’s first European Tour victory for seven years and 124 days – the last being the 2006 BMW PGA Championship – and a delighted Howell said: “It’s been a long time coming. I'm hoping this is going to be huge for me in many ways, because I have had many chances to win and I haven't been able to do it.
“All week I was nervous, I can't explain why. We all know it's a big week and we've all got lots to play for, but today I found a little more inner strength. I still struggled a little bit to get the pace on the greens under the intense pressure and all in all, I was really pleased with how I stayed in control and kept controlling my swing and holed the ones that I had to right at the end. It’s been an interesting seven years. I lost my way in life and on the course, as well, but now things are really good at the moment and I'm in a really happy place.”
South Africa’s Branden Grace, one of the brightest young talents in golf, led from start to finish to celebrate his most impressive victory of the year, winning the 2012 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship by two shots from Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.
From the moment he signed his card after a spectacular first round 60 at Kingsbarns on Thursday, Grace, one of the best front-runners in golf, was a hot favourite to win. And, although he had one or two wobbly moments in his final round on the Old Course, he thoroughly deserved his victory.
Grace, who shot a final round 70 for a 22-under-par total of 266, now joins some of the greatest names in golf – Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Sir Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods among them – who have won four European Tour events in the same season. At 24 years and 140 days, he becomes the youngest winner in Alfred Dunhill Links Championship history and his win took him to third in the Race to Dubai, the European Tour’s order of merit.
In a dramatic finish, the winners of the Team Championship were professional Alexander Noren and Ernesto Bertarelli, the man behind the America’s Cup winning team Alinghi, who tied with Thongchai Jaidee and American businessman Hugh Connerty Jr on 36-under, but won on countback because Noren had the lower pro’s score – 18-under beating Jaidee’s 12-under.
Northern Ireland celebrated its newest golfing hero as Michael Hoey showed qualities of steel and resilience to win the 2011 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the Old Course in St Andrews.
With three recent Major Championship winners in Darren Clarke. Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlory, golf in Northern Ireland is on the crest of a wave and Hoey more than looked capable of joining that exclusive club as he shot 68 for a 22-under-par total and two shot victory.
Even more impressively, Hoey had to take on and beat McDowell and McIlory in the final round to establish his supremacy. US Open champion McIlroy eventually finished runner-up after his faultless seven-under-par 65, which included five birdies and an eagle, while 2010 US Open champion McDowell’s 69 gave him a share of third place, one shot further back, with Scotland’s leading player George Murray, who had a creditable five-under-par 67.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer fulfilled his dream of winning a golf tournament at St Andrews after a flamboyant 66 on the Old Course earned him victory in the 10th Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Despite breezy and difficult conditions, scoring was phenomenal with shouts ringing out all over the course as birdies rattled in, but the biggest cheer came when Kaymer putted from off the green at the formidable 17th Road Hole for a birdie three to effectively clinch the title. For good measure he birdied the 18th as well despite hitting his drive on to the road.
Throughout the final day he had once again shown the steely resolve which helped him become a major championship winner at just 25 at the US PGA in August, as he held off a series of formidable challenges to secure his third consecutive strokeplay win, something not achieved by any player since Tiger Woods in 2006.
They all came to St Andrews to cheer on brilliant young Irishman Rory McIlroy, but instead the Old Course galleries were left applauding a remarkable nine holes of golf by England’s Simon Dyson, which set up an impressive three-shot victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Dyson, for whom this was the second European Tour win of the year, produced an electrifying start with six birdies in his first seven holes for a front nine of 30, which appeared to leave the rest of the field in shock. He played the back nine more conservatively in par, but his 66 for a 20-under-par total of 268, left him comfortably ahead of McIlroy and England’s Oliver Wilson. He said: “66 on the Old Course feels great. I just knew the tournament was there to be won. Obviously with the start I got off to, I knew it was mine for the taking and it was really only me that could lose it. There were some really good names up there – Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Rory and Luke, but I went into it thinking I've been playing some good golf the last five or six weeks and just happy with the way I've been playing.”
Sweden’s Robert Karlsson birdied the first extra hole of a sudden death play-off against England’s Ross Fisher and Germany’s Martin Kaymer to win a thrilling Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Karlsson celebrated his second victory in three tournaments after hitting his wedge to three feet on the 1st hole of the Old Course and rolling in the putt, while Kaymer missed his eight foot birdie chance and Fisher hit an enormous drive straight into the Swilken Burn.
Karlsson said: “I was very emotional sitting on the steps there for the prize-giving. It’s the sort of course you learn to fall in love with.”
England’s Nick Dougherty finally secured the win he wanted so badly with a two shot victory in the 2007 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews. Dougherty fought off a series of challenges throughout the day from some of the best players in the world as he held on for a battling 71 and an 18-under-par total of 270. England’s Justin Rose was second after a three-under-par 69 and the exciting Northern Ireland prospect Rory McIlroy one shot further back in third place after a thrilling 68.
An emotional Dougherty, whose only other victory was in the Singapore Masters in 2005, said: “This is a life-changing win. It’s changed the perspective of the year. It’s changed where I am in the world and where I am with my own personal goals in my career.”
Padraig Harrington played a faultless round of golf on the Old Course to win his second Championship. He crafted a superb 68, which featured four birdies and no dropped shots, to secure his first victory of the year.
Harrington, who also won in 2002, finished on a 16 under par total of 271, five shots ahead of Wales’s Bradley Dredge, England’s Anthony Wall and Edward Loar from the United States. South Africa’s World No 6 Ernie Els was a further shot behind after driving the 18th green and sinking a 10 feet putt for an eagle two. Harrington made it a double double victory when he also won the team competition again with his amateur partner, Irish businessman and horserace owner JP McManus.
Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie gave the ecstatic Old Course galleries a day to remember after he overturned a five shot deficit for the first time in his long and distinguished career on the European Tour to win by one shot.
In a tense and nerve-racking final day, Montgomerie and England’s Kenneth Ferrie slugged it out over 18 holes for one of the most prestigious championships in golf, the title only being decided when Montgomerie sank a four foot putt for a dramatic birdie three on the famous 18th hole in front of the windows of the Royal & Ancient clubhouse.
Montgomerie, who shot a 71 for a nine under par total of 279, said: “I always said to myself the next win would be the most influential and the most important in my career and this is it. I was looking forward so much to coming back here so soon after The Open and it’s so good to come out on top. This is a very special place and walking up the last hole is a very special experience.”
Stephen Gallacher gave the ecstatic St Andrews gallery a home win to cheer after he sank a short birdie putt for a sudden death victory over Graeme McDowell on the first extra hole. It was the first European Tour win in 188 starts for the nephew of former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher.
The Scottish golf fans had turned up in their thousands to applaud Ryder Cup hero Colin Montgomerie on his return to home soil after the Oakland Hills triumph, but they went away toasting a new Scottish hero. A member of the St Andrews Club, his fellow members were leaning out of the windows of the adjacent clubhouse to encourage him as he walked up the 18th hole.
Gallacher said: “This is definitely one of the ones you want to win on the European Tour. I am really going to enjoy today’s win.”
England’s Lee Westwood held on for an exciting one shot victory, keeping his nerve over the closing holes of the Old Course for a five under par 67 to beat World No 2 Ernie Els, who had birdied the last two holes in a dramatic attempt to catch him.
For Westwood, it was an emotional moment. After a difficult few years with his game, his victory in such a significant tournament marked his return to the summit of golf.
The final day had the drama, but the story of the 2003 Championship was a miracle shot by Westwood during his third round course record 62 at Kingsbarns. He hit his four iron second shot 218yds into the hole on the 558yds par five 9th – his first ever albatross – to open up a one shot lead.
Westwood’s win was immensely popular with the St Andrews galleries as was the victory in the team competition of father and son pairing Sam and Daniel Torrance, who shot a final round betterball 62 for a 37 under par.
Irishman Padraig Harrington underlined his claims to be crowned Europe’s top golfer when he swept the board winning both the individual and team events.
One of the stars of the Ryder Cup triumph against the United States seven days earlier, Harrington kept European golf bubbling by beating Argentina’s Eduardo Romero in thrilling style at the second extra hole in a sudden death play-off.
Harrington and Romero had finished tied on 269, 19 under par, after sinking a dramatic 18 foot birdie putt on the sun drenched 18th hole on the Old Course for a closing round of 69.
Victory was doubly sweet for Harrington as he and fellow Irishman, race horse owner JP McManus, claimed the team event with a 37 under par score.
Scotland's Paul Lawrie conjured up another miraculous putt from the 'Valley of Sin' on the Old Course at St.Andrews to capture the inaugural Alfred Dunhill Links Championship by a stroke from Ernie Els. Lawrie's 40 foot birdie putt dropped in for a round of 68 and 18 under par total of 270 while Els took second place with England's David Howell third.
The climax was reminiscent of the 1995 Open Championship when Costantino Rocca holed a vital putt from the Valley of Sin to force a play-off with John Daly.
Els, also round in 68 thanks to a 12 foot birdie putt at the last, had exerted pressure on 1999 Open Champion Lawrie by reaching 17 under par for the 72 holes.
Lawrie said: “It doesn’t get much better than to win at the Home of Golf.”
Roll of honour - Individual Championship
2016: Tyrrell Hatton (English)
2015: Thorbjorn Olesen (Danish)
2014: Oliver Wilson (English)
2013: David Howell (English)
2012: Branden Grace (South Africa)
2011: Michael Hoey (N.Ireland)
2010: Martin Kaymer (Germany)
2009: Simon Dyson (England)
2008: Robert Karlsson (Sweden)
2007: Nick Dougherty (England)
2006: Padraig Harrington (Ireland)
2005: Colin Montgomerie (Scotland)
2004: Stephen Gallacher (Scotland)
2003: Lee Westwood (England)
2002: Padraig Harrington (Ireland)
2001: Paul Lawrie (Scotland)
Roll of honour - Team Championship
2016: Danny Willett & Jonathan Smart
2015: Florian Fritsch & Michael Ballack
2014: Peter Lawrie & Kieran McManus
2013: Thomas Levet & David Sayer
2012: Alexander Noren & Ernesto Bertarelli
2011: Nick Dougherty & Chris Evans
2010: Robert Karlsson & Dermot Desmond
2009: Soren Hansen & Kieran McManus
2008: John Bickerton & Bruce Watson
2007: Scott Strange & Robert Coe
2006: Padraig Harrington & JP McManus
2005: Henrik Stenson & Rurik Gobel
2004: Fred Couples & Craig Heatley
2003: Sam Torrance & Daniel Torrance
2002: Padraig Harrington & JP McManus
2001: Brett Rumford & Chris Peacock
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament for 168 of the world's leading golfers and a Team Championship in which each professional is paired with one of 168 amateurs. Play is over three courses in rotation over the first three days – the Old Course St Andrews, the Championship Course Carnoustie and Kingsbarns Golf Links - with the final round being played over the Old Course.
After three rounds the field is reduced to the leading 60 professionals and those tying for 60th place, and the leading 20 teams. Amateurs receive a stroke allowance equal to two thirds of their official handicap to a maximum of 18 for men and 24 for women. The team score is the lower of the professional's and his amateur partner's net score at each hole.
Total prize money for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is US$5 million – comprising $4.8 million for the individual professional competition and $200,000 for the Team Championship, paid only to the professionals.
In the professional competition the first prize is $800,000, second prize is $533,330 and third prize is $300,480. In the Team Championship, the first prize is $50,000, second prize is $30,000 and third prize is $20,000.
ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS FOUNDATION, a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in Scotland,
(company number SC402048), and registered Scottish charity (charity number SC042414).
Registered Office at Princes Exchange, 1 Earl Grey Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9EE