Compleat Golfer’s playing editor relives his experience at one of the great weeks on the golfing calendar.
Very few weeks compare to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Tournaments like the AT&T Championship and Dimension Data come close, but you simply can’t beat a pro-am at the Home of Golf.
The tournament, once known as the Dunhill Cup, has been a staple of the DP World Tour schedule for decades, and I hope it remains one of the Tour’s premier events for the foreseeable future.
This year’s event could be my favourite out of all I ever played. And if I’m honest, it wasn’t because of my golf; but rather what the game of golf allowed me to do during the week.
A close friend of mine, Chris Morris, retired from professional cricket this year, so, whilst sitting around a braai, I asked him if he’d like to caddie for me at the event. He couldn’t say yes quick enough (which he may have come to regret).
Anyone who knows Chris is well aware of his addiction to the game of golf. So being able to visit St Andrews was truly a bucket-list day for him. He brought his wife and kids along too so they could all share the amazing experience. Watching their reactions during the week was special. It reminded me of my first time, so many years ago now, and gave me a slice of perspective on what I sometimes take for granted.
With the Dunhill Links being a pro-am, your amateur partner is a vital part of the week. Having a fun amateur partner makes the week that much better, and boy did I hit the jackpot. I was drawn with none other than Caddyshack icon Bill Murray.
Everyone has a picture or idea of what Bill Murray is like … trust me, he’s funnier. Chris and I loved every second we spent with the man. Cracking jokes, playing to the crowd and also hitting some absolute bombs for a 72-year-old. The guy can play. No question.
However, in typical Dunhill Links fashion, the golfing gods decided to have some fun with us on Friday. Winds of 50km/h and rain made playing almost impossible. By the 6th hole, every crevice of my body was soaked. The temperature gauge said it was 10 deg C but it felt colder than Bloemfontein on a July morning. Poor Chris did his absolute best to make it seem like he was okay. But a man can tell when someone’s frozen, and my poor caddie was frozen.
After the round we were all joking, walking arm-in-arm back to the clubhouse. We had survived and knew there was hot chocolate waiting for us.
Unfortunately, we missed the cut that week. But walking over the Swilcan Bridge alongside Bill and Chris will be a memory I’ll take to my grave. All because I play this incredible game. Name another sport that can do that.
– This article first appeared in the November 2022 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine.