Out of the Rough: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (2023)
As the excitement of Team Europe’s impressive Ryder Cup victory over Team USA begins to settle, the DP World Tour turns its attention to its only Pro-Am.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is an one-of-a-kind event that has Europe’s best playing four rounds across three separate historic links venues.
This event was first established in 2001 and has quickly become an established tradition as we enter the 22nd edition this season.
Being a pro-am, professional golfers and celebrities together will take to these historic links venues.
Each professional golfer in this week’s field will be partnered by one amateur as the duos each play one of three separate links courses in rotation over the first three days.
From there, the cut is made after the third round where the top 60 pros and ties along with the top 20 teams progress to the final round that will be played at St. Andrews on Sunday.
In the event of making the cut, golfers will play St. Andrews twice as they play the other two venues (detailed below) once.
Being the week following the Ryder Cup, most of Team Europe’s winning team will not be in attendance this week but the likes of Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Robert MacIntyre will be teeing it up.
Along with Fitzpatrick, Fleetwood and MacIntyre, names such as Billy Horschel and Padraig Harrington will be in this week’s field.
Additionally, a number of LIV golfers received a sponsors invitation and will be playing this week as well including Talor Gooch, Louis Oosthuizen, Peter Uihlein and Hudson Swafford.
Notable celebrities taking part this week include Gareth Bale, Piers Morgan, Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad.
New Zealand’s Ryan Fox comes in as the defending champion of this event as he looks to defend his title.
St. Andrews (Old Course)
St. Andrews is arguably the most notable course in the world of golf and is oftentimes deemed as the ‘home of golf.’
It is oftentimes referred to as ‘The Old Lady,’ and is one of those courses that anyone who has ever once touched a golf club would like to play.
St. Andrews hosts the Open Championship every five years.
It plays as a par 72 at 7,318 yards.
The back-nine at St. Andrews is what makes-or-breaks a round. Holes 11-to-17 is the toughest stretch of holes on this course.
The greens typically play at around ten on the Simpmeter.
Of course, the true defense to St. Andrews is the weather. You can see how the weather is forecasted for this week below.
Carnoustie plays as a Par 72 at 7,394 yards.
This venue has been the host of the Open Championship eight times. It was the scene of Francesco Molinari’s improbable victory in 2018.
This was also the place where we saw Harrington, who is playing in this week’s event, edge out Sergio Garcia in a playoff in 2007.
This course is often referred to as Carnasty and is famous for its extremely deep pot bunkers.
Carnoustie is undoubtedly the toughest of the three tracks we’ll see this week.
Although it is the toughest course, it’ll be set up in a way to not completely embarrass the amateurs and celebrities playing this week. It will play nowhere as difficult as it has in its eight hostings of the Open Championship.
Kingsbarns plays as a par 72 at 7,227 yards.
This is the newest of the three courses we’ll see this week and is located just seven miles from St. Andrews.
This is a Kyle Philips design that was opened in 2000.
Kingsbarns is known for its generous fairways and few water hazards. It is not a difficult track by any means if the weather cooperates.
The 2012 winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship opened with a round of 60 here at Kingsbarns.
In all, these courses are all going to be set up in a way to help the amateurs. Expect a birdie fest this week.
As both St. Andrews and Kingsbarns sit in Fife, Scotland and Carnoustie sitting an hour away, weather appears to be the same for each of the venues. As of the time of writing this, we can expect some wet conditions. Precipitation is set at 80-percent for Tuesday, 70-percent for Friday, 60-percent on Saturday and 70-percent on Sunday. Friday and Saturday are each calling for high winds as well, at 18 and 21 miles-per-hour respectively. Thursday is calling for ten miles-per-hour and Sunday 12 miles-per-hour in terms of winds. Those who draw St. Andrews Friday or Saturday will have their work cut out for them. Temperatures will range from 58-degrees to 65-degrees across all four days as well. In all,
Birdie or Better Percentage
Greens in Regulation Percentage
Par 4 Average Scoring
Sand Saves Percentage
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Putting
Talor Gooch (+1800)
If you know me, I typically follow my model each and every week to a tee. Usually these gut plays don’t work out for me but we’ll give it another go. Gooch is one of the LIV golfers who received a sponsor's exemption to compete this week. On the LIV Tour, he’s currently 7th in birdies, second in scrambling, 7th in GIR% and 7th in putting average. Not a bad resume. There’s just always something about Gooch that interests me each time I can bet him and here we are. I’m playing two units on him this week.
Adrian Meronk (+2200)
Insert the Michael Scott “I am ready to get hurt again” meme. Adrian Meronk is a name I gravitate towards often and that’s for good reason. He’s currently first on the DP World Tour in SG: OTT, third in GIR%, seventh in birdie or better percentage, 16th in SG: APP, 26th in both bogey avoidance and scrambling, 29th in par four average scoring, 55th in sand saves percentage and 73rd in SG: PUTT. Now, the problems. The third round. Since The Open Championship, Meronk has recorded rounds of 74, 77, 70, 71 and 73 in the third round. One of these weeks he has to put it together in the third round. I hope with playing a different course for each of the three rounds, this could be the week he right that ship. I’m playing two units on Meronk this week.
Joost Luiten (+4500)
Here’s another name that has burned me a few times this season, none more notable than the BMW International Open where he couldn’t hold off Triston Lawrence and threw away his four stroke lead on the back nine. However, Luiten is in some good form heading into this week. He’s gone T5th at the Omega European Masters, T12th at the Horizon Irish Open and T14th at the BMW PGA Championship in his last three outings. He’s also seventh on Tour in bogey avoidance, eight in SG: APP, ninth in SG: OTT, 11th in GIR%, 15th in par four average scoring, 16th in scrambling, 38th in sand saves, 30th in birdie or better percentage and 54th in SG: PUTT. He is actually my overall favorite as he tops my model this week. I’m playing a unit on Luiten.
Ewen Ferguson (+6000)
In all, this has been an event dominated by someone with a links background. Those from England, Ireland or Scotland have claimed victory at this event in 14-of-the-21 playings. Luckily for Ferguson, he’s from Scotland. He is also 12th on Tour in GIR%, 17th in both SG: APP and bogey avoidance, 20th in sand saves percentage, 39th in scrambling, 44th in SG: OTT, 56th in both birdie or better percentage and par four average scoring and 63rd in SG: PUTT. He also placed T10th at the Cazoo Open de France in the DP World Tour’s last outing. I’m playing a unit on Ferguson this week.
Nathan Kimsey (+7500)
Going along with the trend of golfers with a links backgrounds, I’m going with Kimsey here with some great value. Kimsey is currently second on Tour in bogey avoidance, fourth in GIR%, 12th in par four average scoring, 20th in birdie or better percentage, 22nd in SG: PUTT, 34th in scrambling, 38th in SG: OTT, 85th in sand saves and 88th in SG: APP. Like Ferguson, Kimsey had a good showing at the DP World Tour’s last stop at the Cazoo Open de France with a T14th. I’m playing a unit on him this week.