Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit has admitted teeing off at Carnoustie was more nerve-jangling than running out in front of 80,000 fans at the San Siro in Milan.
Gullit plays golf off a six handicap and is among the celebrities from the world of film, TV and sport who are playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The former AC Milan midfielder – who won the Ballon d’Or for the world’s best player in 1987 – was playing at Carnoustie on Friday alongside Notting Hill actor Hugh Grant and Twin Peaks star Kyle MacLachlan.
“I could never have been a pro golfer because I’ve loved being involved in team sport, but in this event you can always contribute as an amateur partner if you play a hole well,” said Gullit.
“In fact, in this format, as an amateur, you don’t have to play well all the time to be able to help build a good team score.
“But although I was always comfortable in football, whatever the occasion, it is not always so in golf – standing on the first tee for instance, especially when your name is called out by the starter, is never an easy moment.”
With a prize fund of $5 million, the Alfred Dunhill Links, which raises substantial funds for charity each year, incorporates two separate competitions – an individual professional tournament for the world’s leading golfers and the Team Championship, in which the pro’s are paired with amateur players.
Mike Rutherford from Genesis, breakfast TV host Piers Morgan, Downton Abbey star Matthew Goode and cricketer Shane Warne were among those playing at Kingsbarns.
Morgan described himself as “Charlie Bucket” and said being chosen to play in the Dunhill was like finding a golden ticket from Willy Wonka.
He said: “It’s a piece of history, it’s golfing history, it’s sporting history.
“It’s a thing I’ve watched so many times on the television.
“To be playing in the Dunhill Links and playing with a professional who is on a proper tournament is the stuff of dreams.
“I’m just thrilled to be here.”
Goode said he was enjoying his golf and declared himself very lucky to be playing for a sixth time in the tournament.
“When you’re standing next to these top players on the range, let alone out there on the course, it’s incredible to watch them up close,” he said.
“That’s always a big highlight of this week for me.”
Cricket star Shane Warne described the Dunhill Links as “the best week on the planet”.
The tournament continues this weekend.