Sir Nick Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, is to play in this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, where he will renew an association with Carnoustie which goes back to 1975.
Faldo, an inexperienced player at the time, just failed to qualify for that year’s Open Championship, which was won by Tom Watson.
He had the consolation, however, of walking the course with double Open champion Lee Trevino and was able to pick the senior man’s brains about the lore and technique of links golf. That he learned these lessons well is evident in the fact that he went on to win three Opens, including one at St Andrews.
Sir Nick joins Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer, winners of three of the four Majors in 2014, in the event, which began on Thursday in St Andrews.
He will be playing three courses during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, how does he rate them? “Obviously, St. Andrews is special. Carnoustie is always tough, so I hope to catch a break there and Kingsbarns is the modern version of a links course. Each is enjoyable in its own way.”
Defending champion David Howell will be returning to St Andrews, hoping to become the first golfer to win back-to-back Alfred Dunhill Links titles.
He said: “It will be lovely to come back as defending champion. It’s a real privilege and I shall enjoy every moment of it.”
The championship incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament and a team event in which the professionals are paired with amateur golfers, creating a unique atmosphere.
Among the celebrities playing are film and TV stars Hugh Grant, Damian Lewis, Greg Kinnear and Kyle MacLachlan, rock legends Don Felder, Huey Lewis and Tico Torres and many sporting greats, including Sir Bobby Charlton, Johan Cruyff, Sir Ian Botham, Shane Warne, Brian O’Driscoll, Sir Steve Redgrave, Tim Henman and Damon Hill.