Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of the DP World Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links taking place at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews.
2021/2022 DP World Tour
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, St Andrews
29th September- 2nd October
You have to admit that the DP World Tour has really outdone itself in terms of drama of late. Everyone thought last week’s French Open was essentially a done deal after Rasmus Hojgaard lit it up with a Friday 62.
But the Dane faltered on Saturday, opening the door for Guido Migliozzi to pounce. Long touted as a future Ryder Cupper, the aggressive Italian has struggled to live up to his billing in recent times. But his closing 62 was a timely reminder of his undoubted, raw potential.
The last three weeks have really showcased what European golf is capable of and this week should prove no exception. The last of ten events on the DP World Tour to be staged in the British Isles this year, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is one of the most prestigious- and lucrative- events on the entire DP World Tour roster.
It will be interesting to see how Rory McIlroy copes this the psychological scar tissue of blowing the Open Championship at St Andrews earlier this year.
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
First staged in 2021, this will be the 21st edition of this pro-am (there was no event in 2020 due to the pandemic). The players and their amateur partners will rotate between three courses over the first three days: Kingsbarns, Carnoustie and St Andrews.
The 168 players will then be cut to 60 plus ties at the 54-hole mark. These players will once again contest St Andrews on Sunday (the leading 20 pro-am teams will also be involved on the day of reckoning).
It’s important to remember that it is a pro-am. That can make the first three days slightly infuriating to watch. But it generally streamlines into a far more pleasurable viewing experience come Sunday.
This year’s tournament will also carry the added allure of valuable Ryder Cup points.
Carnoustie, Kingbarns and St Andrews
All three of these courses are traditional British links that are obviously at the mercy of the elements. Colloquially known as ‘Car-nasty’, Carnoustie is certainly the most difficult course for both the amateurs and professionals.
Kingsbarns- the youngest of the layouts- is the easiest test out there. Players will likely need to go low when they play their 18 holes there. And then you have the crème de le crème of British links: St Andrews.
It is pretty fresh in the brain after this year’s epic 150th Open Championship. This week is always quite unique. You have to look for players with decent links form and perhaps some course credentials.
Rory McIlroy will be looking to exorcise some demons this week following Cam Smith’s heroics at this year’s Open Championship. His form has been excellent of late.
He won the FedEx Cup and fell just one shot shy of Wentworth champ Shane Lowry. His last outing was a solid 4th at the Italian Open. A three-time runner-up in this event, McIlroy will surely be in the mix this week.
Speaking of Wentworth, Shane Lowry will be teeing it up for the first time since his barnstorming finish at the BMW PGA Championship. Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrell Hatton will lead a strong English contingent.
It’s also nice to see Billy Horschel in the mix after his President’s Cup victory. Also watch out for recent winners Robert Macintyre and Guido Migliozzi.
All in all, this promises to be a wonderful celebration of links golf.
Sidenote: Patrick Reed was forced to withdraw this week under bizarre circumstances. The honorary DP World Tour member apparently sustained a back injury from a soft mattress in a French Hotel last week. I have never heard of a more first-world injury than that.
2021: Danny Willett (-18)
2020: no event
2019: Victor Perez (-22)
2018: Lucas Bjerregaard (-15)
2017: Tyrell Hatton (-24)
2016: Tyrell Hatton (-23)
To Win Outright:
Rory McIlroy 9/2 | Matt Fitzpatrick 10/1 | Shane Lowry 10/1 | Tyrell Hatton 18/1 | Tommy Fleetwood 20/1
Danny Willett- To Win (35/1), To Place (15/2)
Danny Willett must still be running the closing moments of the recent Fortinet Championship through his head. He had a golden opportunity to win his first title on American soil since the 2016 Masters. But he became the first man all week to three-putt from inside five feet, gifting the title to Max Homa. But he seemed philosophical in defeat and instead focused on the positives. Willett has slowly been clawing his way back to his best form. He had a T12 at this year’s Masters to go with a T16 at the British Masters. He also had a T7 at the 3M Open. He also has an excellent history in this event. He finished runner-up all the way back in 2010 and he won the title last year after a Tyrell Hatton implosion.
The Man to Beat
Tyrell Hatton- To Win 18/1 | To Place 39/10
Tyrell Hatton just screams value at 18/1. The temperamental Englishman dominated this tournament with his back-to-back wins in 2016 and 2017. He shot a combined -47 in those two events. Since then, he has picked up a further two runner-up finishes. He finished runner-up last year after looking nailed-on to claim his third title. Hatton has proved infuriating at times. I would have guessed he would have won his maiden Major by now. But he sometimes lets his emotions get in the way (much like Jon Rahm). But he finished 11-under at St Andrews earlier this year and he is trending nicely. He finished eighth at last week’s Italian Open and he looks primed for another title push. I think he will be hugely motivated by the quality of this week’s field.