Date: October 02, 2012
Author: Bruce Young /

Ryder Cup heroes head to St Andrews

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is played this week at its traditional venues of the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns in Scotland the event now into its 12th year under this format. The event plays all three courses in rotation in a pro am format before the final round is contested back at the host venue, St Andrews. European golf will be bursting at the seams with pride and excitement as several of their Ryder Cup heroes, Paul Lawrie, Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson return from Chicago to compete in the event. Also in the field is one of their adversaries last week Dustin Johnson but given the magnitude of their victory two days ago then the reception the Europeans receive may well be as loud as some of the noise we heard across the fairways of Medinah Country Club for players such as Johnson. The leading world ranked player in the field is Louis Oosthuizen whose previous success at St Andrews and his solid recent form make him a likely favourite to take the title. Oostuizen won the 2010 Open Championship by a massive seven shots at St Andrews and played well in the recent FedEx Cup finals. He finished 5th in this event 12 months ago. Johnson will be gutted by the loss he and the rest of his American side suffered on Sunday but he has shown previously a capacity to bounce back from adversity. He recovered quickly from his disastrous final day at the US Open in 2010 and at the PGA Championship that same year when disqualified. Johnson did though miss the cut in this event last year so there is that question mark about his chances. Martin Kaymer is a previous winner of this event and although in indifferent form of late, his great effort on Sunday to claim the point to square the scores late on Sunday will be a great boost for him. Peter Hanson has played this event well enough in the past and his recent win at the KLM Open and his 7th place at the PGA Championship gives every indication he could contend for the title this week. Much will depend on the letdown factor after such a thrill last week. Like Kaymer, Paul Lawrie will be boosted by his deeds in Chicago. Lawrie has rediscovered his game in 2012 and his recent win at the Johnnie Walker Championship and another good finish in Switzerland indicates where he is at with his game. Throw in the Ryder Cup victory over Brand Snedeker and it would appear Lawrie is primed for another win in his home country. Ernie Els has played the event well on occasions and a current Open Champion can never be discounted. Els made it through to the final of the FedEx Cup (The Tour Championship) and while not quite at the peak he was at Royal Lytham & St Annes he could still do well. The last few months have seen Padraig Harrington returning to somewhere near his best. As a former two time winner and regular contender in this event, this might just be the week for the Irishman to win his first event in more than four years. Charl Schwartzel has been solid if unspectacular of late but his class will take him a long way this week. The field consists of several players from other Tours around the world, gaining their starts via money list positions on those Tours. Australasians in the field for the US5 million event, therefore, are Michael Campbell, Richard Green, Brett Rumford, Matthew Zions, Andrew Dodt, David Gleeson, Adam Crawford, Terry Pilkadaris, Kieran Pratt, Rohan Blizard, Ryan Haller, Ashley Hall, Peter O Malley, Matthew Griffin, Nick Cullen and Josh Geary.