Tourism boost as 2017 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship tees off

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Tyrrell Hatton of England holds the trophy aloft with his caddie Chris Rice on the Swilken Bridge on the 18th hole after winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at The Old Course last year.

Hundreds of visitors are expected to descend on some of the area’s prestigious golf courses today as the 17th annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship tees off.

Fife’s world-famous courses at St Andrews and Kingsbarns, as well as the 2018 Open Championship venue Carnoustie, will play host to professionals and celebrities from across the globe as they compete in the pro individual and team championship over the next four days – raising money for the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation in the process.

Famous faces competing for the team trophy include musicians Mike Rutherford from Genesis, Dave Farrell from Linkin Park and Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres.

They will be joined by actors including Jamie Dornan and Greg Kinnear, while Dragon’s Den presenter Peter Jones. Sir Steve Redgrave, jockey Sir AP McCoy and former Irish rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll will also be among those taking part.

As for the professionals though, Tyrell Hatton will be aiming to defend his title from stars of the global game including former Open Champion Paul Lawrie and golfing superstar Rory McIlroy.

The event also marks the professional home debut of Walker Cup star, Connor Syme, who is based at Drumoig Golf Centre near St Andrews and turned professional in mid-September after his Walker Cup exploits.

Whatever happens over the next four days, tourism bosses are expecting a real boost.

Stephen Owen, chair of the Fife Golf Partnership, suggested that the Dunhill will cap a fantastic year for golf in the kingdom in particular.

“It’s been another wonderful year for golf in Fife, with a highlight being the hosting of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns Golf Links,” he said.

“The Dunhill Links Championship is a fantastic event that brings a different type of golfing experience to The Home of Golf, where professional and amateur players compete in a format not normally witnessed at the highest levels of the game.

“The event therefore provides a more relaxed atmosphere than at regular tour events and allows fans to get very close to the action on the course.

“The event always brings a special atmosphere to the town and surrounding area and we are very much looking forward to yet another exciting championship.”

The format sees the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie all hosting the first three days of the championship from today until Saturday, with the final round being played over the world famous Old Course on Sunday.

Commenting on the return of the championship, Fife Tourism Partnership’s tourism manager, Ann Camus, said: “The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship one of the highlights of the year, and it’s fantastic to see so many famous faces competing in the team tournament to raise funds for the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation.

“Both the individual and team events draw great crowds every year, and with the standard of golf so high I know we will be in for an exciting tournament once again.

“Visitors travel from far and wide to experience the tournament, which brings a real tourism boost to local businesses in the area.

“Tourism across the Kingdom thrived over the summer period, so I look forward to upcoming events in autumn and winter.”