A notable absentee from next week's Alfred Dunhill Links at St Andrews is American actor Bill Murray - a golfer with whom I and several other media, had an unfortunate experience last year.
The comedian, had me unceremoniously escorted from the course last year when I innocently attempted to ask him his thoughts on the event and his love affair with the Old Course. I hadn't realised he had minutes earlier berated a Scottish TV crew and called other reporters 'morons' for seeking similar opinions.
Murray is not among the Hollywood stars anmed this week who usually assemble for this high profile celebrity golf fest, though Hugh Grant and Andy Garcia head an A-list group of showbiz legends set to play with Europe's finest professionals.??
Among the other familiar names teeing off will be Don Felder from The Eagles, Riverdance idol Michael Flatley, rock idol Huey Lewis, Kyle MacLachlan from 'Desperate Housewives' and TV actors James Nesbitt and Luke Wilson.????
“I love the place, the people and the atmosphere, " says Garcia. "It's a great privilege and I am looking forward to an excellent week on some of the greatest links courses in the world. Hoping the links won't accentuate my kinks,” he said.??
Lewis, who will break off from a concert tour of the US and UK with his band The News, said: “It's the amateur equivalent of the Open Championship - wonderful courses, great format. It’s my favourite tournament. I love the banter with the galleries. Everything they say about golf fans in Scotland is true. If you hit a good shot, you’ll get applause.”??
The Dunhill Links is played over three of the world’s most respected courses – the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns Golf Links.??
With a prize fund of US$5 million, the event incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament for the world's leading golfers and a team event in which the professionals are paired with some of the most celebrated amateur golfers which creates a unique atmosphere.
The pro field includes Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh. Defending champion is Branden Grace from South Africa.?
Entrance to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship will be FREE at all three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A ticket price of £20 (concessionary £15) will be charged for the final day’s play over the Old Course on September 29. Entry for under 16s and students is free. Tickets are available through the ticket hotline on 0870 010 9021 or at the entrance gates.