Danny Willett ready to defend his Alfred Dunhill Links title
August 25, 2022
Defending champion Danny Willett will be back at St Andrews next month bidding to join an exclusive club of golfers who have won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship twice.
Tyrrell Hatton, in 2016 and 2017, and Padraig Harrington, in 2002 and 2006, have had their names inscribed on the trophy on two occasions. Now 2016 Masters champion Willett will be hoping to match them.
Danny said: “I’ve been very lucky to win on some of the biggest stages in golf, but to win at the Old Course last year on my 34th birthday was really very special. Nothing would please me more than to repeat that next month.
“I had a pretty eventful year with covid, wisdom teeth trouble and appendicitis, so to win at St Andrews in such a big tournament was massive.
“Some people forget, I’ve actually won the Dunhill Links twice. With my caddie Jonathan Smart, we won the Team Championship in 2016. So there is a very special relationship between me and this event.”
Willett is one of only five golfers, along with Padraig Harrington, Michael Hoey, Nick Dougherty and Robert Karlsson, to have won both the Individual Professional and the Team Championship.
Willett leads a world-class field in the event and he will be up against some stiff opposition at St Andrews. Also now confirming they are playing are two-time winner Tyrrell Hatton, 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Team Championship winner Tommy Fleetwood and 2018 Open champion Francesco Molinari. Four-time Major champion Rory McIlroy has already announced he will be playing.
For Italy’s Francesco Molinari it will be a happy return to Carnoustie after his memorable win there in the Open Championship, when he finished two shots ahead of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner.
Francesco said: “I am really looking forward to playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. I always love returning to St Andrews but I am especially looking forward to playing Carnoustie for the first time since I won there in 2018. It’s going to bring back some very special memories and I can’t wait.”
As usual there will be a strong South African challenge. Brandon Stone is looking to become only the second player in history to win both the Alfred Dunhill Links and its sister event the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in South Africa, while Dean Burmester returns to St Andrews fresh from his best-ever finish in a Major when he ended tied 11th in the Open Championship at the Old Course in July. He finished as the leading South African in last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links in a share of seventh.
Dean said: “The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is a massive week for me. If you want to win an Open, you need to learn how to play Links golf and we’ve got three great Links courses we play in that tournament,” he said.