I’M really delighted to be writing for the Scotsman, sharing my experience of playing in this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
This will be the sixth tournament I’ve played in, which continues to be an incredible thrill for me. As a golf fanatic this event is one of the highlights of my year.
In terms of my favourite sporting moments, although it’s a very different experience, playing in the Alfred Dunhill is right up there with playing football for England. I get a huge buzz from it and consider it to be as great as anything I’ve done in sport.
I feel very privileged to compete on three fantastic courses, all of which have their own beauty. The
Old Course is stunning, Kingsbarns is also amazing and Carnoustie, where I shot a memorable level par one year, is also very special to me.
This tournament is all about having fun but I’m also a competitor and I always want to win in everything I do. I’ve been fortunate enough to have made the cut twice in 2009 and 2011, mainly through the efforts Luke Donald, my pro partner. I met Luke 10 years ago when he was on honeymoon in Sardinia. He introduced himself thinking I was Michael Owen! Despite that we’ve been friends ever since. He wasn’t able to play in the tournament this year and I’ll be paired with another top English golfer, Ross Fisher, which I’m really looking forward to.
We’re teeing off at the Old Course tomorrow, playing in the four ball with Alan Hansen who is both a friend and someone I have always looked up to in sport. Of course, this doesn’t stop him from taking the mickey out of me whenever he can! It started on the football pitch when I joined Liverpool, just after he retired, and has continued on to the golf course. Alan is highly skilled golfer, an old school player who knows how to get the ball into the hole. We both share a real passion for the game and enjoy an annual outing to Pebble Beach with a group of friends which is another highlight of the year.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow and to my rounds on Friday and Saturday when I’ll be in four balls with Sir Bobby Charlton and then Ruud Gullit. Football royalty!
I’ll be relieved once I get the first tee shot out of the way at the Old Course tomorrow but, as ever, I’m very excited and really looking forward to getting out there, enjoying myself and hopefully playing some good golf in between.