The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is a golf tournament played in Scotland, usually towards the end of the European Tour season in September or October. In recent years it has been the tournament played in the week following the Ryder Cup or the BMW PGA Championship.
The event was established in 2001 when it was known as the Dunhill Links Championship and was created to replace the Alfred Dunhill Cup which was a match play tournament made up of three man teams who represent their home nations.
The tournament is played across three links courses in Fife. They are Kingsbarns, Carnoustie and St Andrews, the latter two of which have hosted the Open Championship a combined total of 37 times.
Two players have won the Alfred Dunhill more than once. Irishman Padraig Harrington was victorious in 2002 and 2006, and Englishman Tyrell Hatton won here in 2016 and 2017. Scottish players won 3 of the first 5 events played with Paul Lawrie, Stephen Gallacher and Colin Montgomerie all successful.
Alfred Dunhill Links Recent Winners
|2021||Danny Willett||-18||2 Strokes||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2019||Victor Perez||-22||1 Stroke||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2018||Lucas Bjerregaard||-15||1 Stroke||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2017||Tyrell Hatton||-24||3 Strokes||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2016||Tyrell Hatton||-23||4 Strokes||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2015||Thosbjorn Olesen||-18||2 Strokes||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2014||Oliver Wilson||-17||1 Stroke||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2013||David Howell||-23||Playoff||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2012||Branden Grace||-22||2 Strokes||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2011||Michael Hoey||-22||2 Strokes||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2010||Martin Kaymer||-17||3 Strokes||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2009||Simon Dyson||-20||3 Strokes||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2008||Robert Karlsson||-10||Playoff||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2007||Nick Dougherty||-18||2 Strokes||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2006||Padraig Harrington||-17||5 Strokes||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2005||Colin Montgomerie||-9||1 Stroke||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2004||Stephen Gallacher||-19||Playoff||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2003||Lee Westwood||-21||1 Stroke||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
|2002||Padraig Harrington||-19||Playoff||St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns|
The Courses: St Andrews Old Course, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns
The main draw of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is that it takes place at three of the very best links golf courses in the world. The field is split over the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns during the first three days of play before those who make the cut return to St Andrews for the final round.
Generally speaking, it’s Carnoustie which plays as the most difficult of the three courses. As ever with links golf though much will depend on the weather. The wind isn’t set to be overly strong but it is going to be very wet which will take continual management on the part of the caddies. That challenge is only enhanced by the slow pace of play that comes with playing in fourballs, two of which are amateurs.
Previous links golf experience is vital for any player with hopes of winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Many of the most recent winners had already shown an ability to play in the wind and deal with the short game challenge thrown down by the three host courses.
Winners here have also had to putt very well on the week of their victories. Despite the mental challenge that comes with the incredibly slow pace of play and adapting to a different course every day, this is an event where scoring is typically very slow as the courses are set up as generously as possible to aid the amateurs.
The favourable way the courses are set up for the Alfred Dunhill Championship means that it can often be something of a putting competition. It can be different if the weather becomes challenging however. The wind can be strong enough to make an impact on scoring but it’s the rain which often has the biggest impact. Wet, receptive greens will help the best ball strikers but only if they have the mental strength to cope with long waits on the tees and putt well.
About Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship was founded in 2001. In the inaugural event, Scotsman Paul Lawrie prevailed, beating South African Ernie Els by a single stroke. Since then, it has become one of the most prestigious events on the European Tour.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is played over three of Scotland’s best known golf courses: St Andrews (Old Course), Carnoustie and Kingsbarns Golf Links. The Dunhill Links is the only major tournament to be held at St Andrews each year.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship contains two separate competitions. There is an individual tournament for 168 of the leading golfers as well as a Team Championship event, which allows amateurs to play alongside the professionals.
Many great players have played in this competition, including Nick Faldo, Rory McIlroy and Colin Montgomerie. The event also attracts plenty of interest from celebrities, business leaders and amateurs from all over the world. Top names from the world of sport, music and even Hollywood get involved, making it a fascinating event for the spectators.
Home of Golf
The Old Course at St Andrews is considered by many historians as the oldest golf course in the world, and it holds legendary status amongst the golfing fraternity. The course in Fife, Scotland has become known as ‘The Home of Golf’ and its allure is plain to see, both for the many professionals who jump at the chance to play there and for the celebs who fancy showing what they can do on the most famous course in the world. Golf has been played over these links for hundreds of years, as early as the 15th century.
Carnoustie Golf Links is another historic course in Scotland, with it also being one of the venues of The Open Championship, which was last held at the course in Angus in 2018. The other Alfred Dunhill Links Championship course is Kingsbarns. This seaside course opened in 2000 and has quickly become one of the best golf venues in Scotland, though obviously it crouches somewhat in the shadows of the more illustrious duo of courses with which it sharing hosting duties for this tournament.
Hatton’s Back-to-back Wins
Not many golfers have had the privilege of winning this tournament on more than one occasion. In fact, only two players have managed to win The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship twice. Irishman Padraig Harrington was the first, following up his 2002 victory with a second triumph in 2006.
In recent years, Tyrrell Hatton has been the most successful player of the Scottish event. Hatton is the only man to have retained the trophy, winning in 2016 and 2017. Hatton’s first win was a four-stroke success over Ross Fisher and Richard Sterne. A year later, the Buckinghamshire-born man edged out Fisher once again to secure his second title. Hatton also holds the record tournament score of a quite magnificent 24 under par.
Hatton has two other European Tour wins to his name, the Italian Open in 2017 and the Turkish Airlines Open in 2019. In March 2020 he gained his first tournament victory on the PGA Tour when he landed the highly sought-after Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Florida. His final score of four under par was enough to hold off the challenge of runner-up Marc Leishman, whom he beat by a single stroke.
Not only do the world’s best golfers take part, plenty of celebrity amateurs have provided superb entertainment over the years. Actors like Hugh Grant, Morgan Freeman and Samuel L Jackson – among several others familiar faces – have all participated in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
A number of sporting icons have also had a go in this tournament, including Sir Steve Redgrave, Gary Linekar, Ruud Gullit, Boris Becker, Nigel Mansell and Shane Warne. In 2019, singer Justin Timberlake even made an appearance.
First French Winner
In the 2019 tournament, Victor Perez became the first Frenchman to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Perez won the competition with one of the most exciting finishes in the event’s history.
Perez, who lives close to Dundee, had a tournament to remember in Scotland. The French ace was involved in a fierce battle with Englishman Matthew Southgate, nicking the tournament by one stroke. The win at St Andrews remains Perez’s only European Tour victory to date, though he has mustered a couple of wins on the Challenge Tour.
This event has produced various winners from all over the globe. Recent winners have come from France (Victor Perez in 2019) and Denmark (Lucas Bjerregaard in 2018), while South African Branden Grace won the tournament in 2012. However, 12 of the 20 Alfred Dunhill Links Championships have been won by Britons.
As mentioned, Tyrell Hatton is the most successful Brit with two wins to his name, while the likes of Oliver Wilson, David Howell, Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood have also lifted the trophy in Scotland. Prior to Swede Robert Karlsson’s victory in 2008, each of the first seven tournaments were won by players from Britain or Ireland. Three of the first five were won by Scots, although there has not been a home winner since Colin Montgomerie prevailed way back in 2005.
British Winners of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
|2011||Michael Hoey||Northern Irish|