What a sporting occasion the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is? Played over the iconic links courses of Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and the Old Course in St Andrews.
A major Pro-Am, whilst also being one of the biggest prize money and most prestigious events on the European Tour. In fact, with a purse of $5 million, it’s a big lot of money. Tyrrell Hatton, this year’s winner, went home a tidy $800,000 better off.
It is like the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in the U.S. where similarly, amateurs play alongside the pros in a major tour event. It’s just that there is a slightly bigger purse there, more Americans, and it’s played over three courses on the Monterey Peninsula rather than in Fife and Angus (if you get my drift?). Jordan Spieth, who won this year, says that he loves playing in it and probably had as much fun, or more than in any other tournament.
Now, the fascinating thing about these two events is that amateurs play at the same time and alongside world-class professionals, who are competing at the highest levels and for the highest stakes. I can’t think of any other sport where this happens, or in fact could happen, give the colour, intensity and rarity of the two rubbing shoulders with each other. Potentially you could make a case for darts, but probably not synchronised swimming, apart from maybe the rubbing shoulders bit.