2023 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Preview, Picks & Analysis
BIG-MONEY tournaments continue to come thick and fast as the DP World Tour heads towards the conclusion of the Race to Dubai later in the year. And this week Ryan Fox returns to St Andrews to defend the Dunhill Links title he won in style 12 months ago.
The Kiwi won his third DP World Tour title at St Andrews as he went on to secure the 2022 Seve Ballesteros Award after being voted Player of the Year last season by his peers.
Fox dedicated his victory to the late cricketing great Shane Warne, whom he paired up with in the popular Pro-Am format on numerous occasions, including finishing runners-up together in the 2021 contest. He has since added the BMW PGA Championship to what is becoming a hugely impressive resume.
Fox said: “Last year was definitely my biggest win at that point. The Dunhill Links has always been one of my favourite events.
“I was lucky enough to pair off with Shane Warne quite a few times. He was one of my idols and obviously losing Warnie last year it felt like it took on more meaning.
“I had a great final day on Sunday, and it doesn’t really get any better than coming down the Old Course with a chance to win the tournament and getting it done at the end.
“I’d always loved the event, the three fantastic golf courses, I love the format with the professionals playing with amateurs.
“To be honest I didn’t feel that comfortable with my golf game early in the week, then went out on Thursday and something clicked and I shot 66 and it just went on from there.”
Fox has tried to mix things up this year, competing on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. He didn’t produce his best golf in the United States but returned to form with a bang at Wentworth.
“My game had been pretty solid if unspectacular this year,” he said. “It’s quite new playing in the US and I’ve played in a lot of designated events with consistent top 25, top 30 results."
He will be joined in the field by several of the biggest international stars in the game who all have special connections with the event.
Tommy Fleetwood is enjoying an excellent season and hoping to go better this year at St Andrews than in 2019, when he won the Alfred Dunhill Links Team Championship. He will also be on a high after holing the winning putt for Europe at Marco Simone.
Billy Horschel, winner of the 2021 BMW PGA Championship, makes his return to Scotland after featuring in the Alfred Dunhill Team Championship with former West Ham footballer Mark Noble.
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, now enjoying a successful senior career, will look to become the first winner of three Individual titles, and should not be ruled out just because he is on the wrong side of 50. He remains a fabulous ball striker and ferocious competitor.
Also teeing up at St Andrews will be one of Scotland’s local heroes, Robert MacIntyre, unlucky not to win this year’s Genesis Scottish Open after an amazing Rory McIlroy back-to-back birdie finish.
MacIntyre, fresh from a wonderful three days at the Ryder Cup, heads a group of Scottish golfers that includes Grant Forrest, Ewen Ferguson, Calum Hill, Richie Ramsay, Connor Syme and 2004 champion Stephen Gallacher.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is a celebration of links golf, played over The Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.
With a prize fund of $5 million, there is a some serious money to be made in a tournament that incorporates two separate competitions - an individual professional tournament and the team championship in which the professionals are paired with amateur golfers which creates a unique atmosphere.
For the first three days entry is free and tickets are not needed.
The Dunhill is played over three courses - The Old Course at St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. They are all classic links courses and the key will be the weather. If it remains calm and dry for four days you will see some low scoring. But if the wind blows we could witness some very high-profile golfers blowing their tops.
It was won in 2015 by Thorbjorn Olesen, in 2016 and 2017 by Tyrrell Hatton, in 2018 by Lucas Bjerregaard, in 2019 by Victor Perez, in 2021 by Danny Willett and last year by Ryan Fox. There was no tournament in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Ryan Fox won here 12 months ago. He has had a quiet time on the PGA Tour but bounced back to his best form at the BMW PGA Championship. Likely to be in contention once again. And it is impossible to overlook Tommy Fleetwood. He has had a number of near-misses in 2023 but adores links golf.
Ryan Fox. Defending champion is bang in form
Tommy Fleetwood. Loves links golf
Billy Horschel. Getting back to his best
Five to Follow:
Ryan Fox. Big, big hitter
Tommy Fleetwood. Courses are made for him
Billy Horschel. Hugely popular American
Ewen Ferguson. It’s time a Scot won this event again
Matt Fitzpatrick. Due another win
Five Outsiders to Watch:
Scott Jamieson. Will hope to be inspired by home crowd
Wil Besseling. Underrated Dutch golfer
David Howell. DP World Tour veteran
Wilco Nienaber. Hits it a country mile
Freddy Schott. Definitely a future tournament winner
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