STARS of Europe’s dramatic Ryder Cup victory have been joined by a host of celebrities from the worlds of sport and entertainment for golf’s famous pro-am Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Before heading to the event on the east coast, Scots golfer Paul Lawrie attended Gleneagles yesterday to show off the Ryder Cup trophy from Europe’s amazing win over the United States at the weekend. The next match will be staged at the Perthshire course in 2014.
Lawrie is one of three Ryder Cup stars taking part in this week’s event, which he won in 2001. He is joined by Martin Kaymer, the man who sank the famous putt at Medinah which retained the trophy for Europe. The German will be attempting to win his second Dunhill Championship.
Fellow Ryder Cup winner Peter Hanson is also playing, as are all four of the European team vice-captains – Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clark, Miguel Angel Jiminez and Paul McGinley, who will be teamed up with Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius.
Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time with 18 gold medals, will partner golfer Paul Casey.
Another Olympic legend, Sir Steve Redgrave, who won gold medals in five Games, will partner Colin Montgomerie, Europe’s winning Ryder Cup captain in 2010. Redgrave’s former rowing partner Matthew Pincent is also competing.
The celebrities include Hollywood star Bill Murray, fondly remembered by golf fans for his role as the gamekeeper in the film Caddyshack.
He will line up with English pro David Howell, and the pair start their challenge for the Team Championship in a fourball with US Ryder Cup star Dustin Johnson and his brother Austin Johnson.
Two-time Team Championship winners Padraig Harrington and Irish racehorse owner JP McManus will bid for a hat-trick of successes. Cricket fans should also be in for a treat as the tournament will include Sir Ian Botham and Shane Warne, and recently retired England captain Andrew Strauss, as well as Steve Waugh.
The prestigious Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is played over three links courses - the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns Golf Links. The final round will be played on the Old Course on Sunday.
With a prize fund of $5 million, the championship incorporates two separate competitions – an individual professional tournament for the world’s leading golfers and a team event in which they are paired with some of the most celebrated amateurs.
Aberdonian Lawrie, who will compete alongside his teenage son Craig for the Dunhill tournament, handed the trophy over to Gleneagles chief executive Patrick Elsmie to mark the countdown to the event.
Scotland’s economy is expected benefit by £100m by hosting the Ryder Cup.
Paul Lawrie said: “This is the home of golf and it somehow feels right to be taking the trophy, and all it represents, to Gleneagles.”