Sunday at the Dunhill: Weird but wonderful

The Scoop

It was a long way from the Ryder Cup just a week earlier but the Dunhill Links at St Andrews was my kind of Sunday

St Andrews holds a very special place in my heart.

I know, I know. You’ve heard it all before. It is the home of golf, where the game was born, where every golfer would like to tee it up in front of the R&A (Royal and Ancient) and make that famous walk over the Swilken Bridge as the best round of their life comes to a close.

But St Andrews holds a place in my heart for so many more reasons. It is where my family and I have been holidaying since I could walk.

It is where I broke my nose. Where I saw the seaside for the first time. Where I spent endless hours running up and down hills pretending to be various different superheroes.

Vitally, it was also the first place my Dad put a golf club in my hand. It was the first place I saw that famous 18th flag bustling in the breeze and the first time I ever saw a links course in all its glory.

For me, St Andrews won’t always be the home of golf, it will always be the home of my golf.

On Sunday, fresh from watching Rory McIlroy turn into the Hulk of Hazeltine, I found myself at the Jigger Inn, pint in hand, looking down across the 17th fairway as the Dunhill Links Championship came to a close.

During my golfing life I must admit that I have only ever attended five Opens. Twice at St Andrews, once at Carnoustie, a Saturday visit to Royal Lytham & St Annes and a swift trip to Royal Troon this year were all that my spectating CV could boast.

The Dunhill is different, very different. And I must admit I was sceptical.

Players mix with celebrities in a pro-am tournament alongside a normal strokeplay European Tour event as the competition is played out across three courses – the Old Course, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

There is an air of informality about the whole situation before you even walk through the gate, yet the golf on display is of the highest of quality. Tyrrell Hatton’s course equalling record of 62 at St Andrews on Saturday is testament to that.

As I ambled down the side of the first fairway I found myself surrounded by cackling women giggling to themselves that Jamie Dornan (I didn’t know either) was just yards away. It was weird. Really weird. But, it was also a relief. It was a far cry from the “mashed potato” and “cheeseburger” shouts at Hazeltine the week before.

The Dunhill is a unique event on tour and although I had no idea who ‘that bloke’ from Fifty Shades of Grey was, if he inspires just one person to pick up a golf club then who am I to pass judgement?

Tyrrell Hatton, like me, will certainly hold St Andrews dear to his heart forever more. And now, thanks to this unique format, maybe others will too.

Read more

Previous article
Next article
Top