Six of Europe’s Ryder Cup team will be hoping for a change in fortune at this weekend’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
Thomas Pieters, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Danny Willett will join another 162 professionals in a bid to win the 16th installation of the European Tour event.
Willett, currently 9th in the Official World Golf Rankings, will be the highest ranked competitor.
However, after earning four of a possible five points at Hazeltine and narrowly missing out on the podium at the Rio Olympics, Thomas Pieters is the man to look out for. Embed from Getty Images
The 24-year-old Belgian comes into the competition in fantastic form and is amongst the favourites with most bookmakers.
In a unique format, the 168 professionals will compete simultaneously for the Professional Championship and the pro-am Team Championship after being teamed up with one of 168 amateurs.
The Team Championship plays in a fourball format. The best net score of the professional or the amateur (given a stroke allowance equal to two thirds of their handicap) will be taken for the team score. Whilst the pro’s score will count for the Professional Championship, in a 72 hole stroke play format.
The golfers will find themselves rotate through the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns Golf Links for the first three days and, after a cut leaving the top 60 pros and top 20 pro-am teams, those who remain will finish the final day back on the Old Course.
The draw and tee times for the tournament can be found here.
Thorbjørn Olesen will be striving to become the first golfer to ever retain the championship, following his two shot victory last year.
Alfred Dunhill’s link with St Andrews dates back to 1985 through the Alfred Dunhill Cup. After a 16 year stint, the cup developed into the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Having run since 2001, the Championship has seen some of the great players compete – including Fred Couples, Sir Nick Faldo and Rory McIlroy – as well as a host of celebrity amateurs.
Celebrity amateur names to look out for this year include actor Hugh Grant, singer Ronan Keating and cricketers Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan.
After a disappointing weekend in the spotlight, Europe’s Ryder Cup strugglers will want a victory to put their weekend at Hazeltine behind them.