Richie Ramsay keen to see return of old Dunhill Cup format in mixed event

Richie Ramsay is excited about being part of the 20th edition of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, describing it as “kind of like a major” for Scots in the field.

South African trio Retief Goosen, Ernie Els and David Frost celebrate winning the 1998 Dunhill Cup at St Andrews. Picture: Ian Stewart/AFP via Getty Images.

But, at a time when team events have been providing talking points following both the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup in recent weeks, the Edinburgh-based player is missing the old format for the event.

“I went to it when it was the Dunhill Cup,” said Ramsay of the three-man team tournament that ran from 1985 to 2000 before being replaced by the current pro-am.

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It delivered Scottish success in 1995 for a tartan trio comprising Andrew Coltart, Colin Montgomerie and Sam Torrance.

But, in one of the darkest days for Scottish golf, there was also an embarrassing defeat for the host nation at the hands of Paraguay on the Old Course at St Andrews two years earlier.

“How nobody has replicated that format is unbelievable,” declared Ramsay. “I was saying to someone the other week, I think it should be a European Tour player, Senior Tour player and an LET/LPGA player.

“They should go out and play each other, senior vs senior, medal matchplay. You’d have to have a winner with three of you.”

Ramsay is among 11 Scots in the field for this week’s milestone edition of the new format.

“This version has got a lot of history now and it’s such a good event, a lot of relationships have been built over 20 years,” he said.

Staying on the team theme, the three-time European Tour winner is hoping an event similar to the Seve Trophy is resurrected to try and help young players prepare for future Ryder Cups.

“One hundred per cent,” he said of that suggestion by Paul McGinley, the winning captain at Gleneagles in 2014 in the wake of Europe’s record 19-9 at Whistling Straits last weekend.

“I was a little surprised that people on social media were talking transition and how they transition guys in from a young group.

“I was a little surprised that Bob MacIntyre, Rasmus [Hojgaard] or Calum [Hill] weren’t over there getting a taste of it, because that’s your future there.

“Seve Trophy, testing out pairings, looking for natural things. Some things like, you could pair a couple of guys together and realise they really get along well.

“He’s a great iron player, for example. The stats help, but you can look at guys who grew up playing together.

“A Seve Trophy or something like a designated thing, a split in the year and you go to Marco Simone (venue for the 2023 match), 20 guys and you get a call from whoever is captain saying, come to Italy and of course you’re going to say, yeah, I’ll do that.”

Ramsay, a former US Amateur champion, added: “There’s no need for a sea-change. But there are things they could improve upon. There’s guys further up the pecking order (to decide that). McGinley’s point about the Seve Trophy is definitely valid.

“Some form of mentor system that goes hand-in-hand with bringing young guys in. Pick an extra vice captain with four (young) guys. A few guys were in France. They should have them in America, that one is the harder one.”

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