Golf Expert & Columnist
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship: Winning at St Andrews is special, says Andrew Coltart
"Jon Rahm is in action in Scotland and I think he's going to relish this event. He loves his golf history and this place and the whole ethos of the tournament is just going to play right into his hands"
Last Updated: 26/09/19 9:17am
Andrew Coltart looks ahead to a special week at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and assesses the hopes of Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm in Scotland.
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Coming to St Andrews, the home of golf, just means so much to everyone that has ever picked up a club and played the game. It's a genuine treat and a joy for everyone to get out there on the links.
The players have thoroughly bought into this event over the years and it comes at the end of a good, long season. They enjoy the social aspect that the tournament brings and there's plenty of fun to be had, but it's still massively competitive around here!
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You have to take your hat off to those celebrities and amateurs who are coming into our golfing arena, hoping to perform in front of the large galleries and TV crews. It's a tough ask for anyone and there's no doubt they will be nervous, no matter what else they have achieved in their lives.
It's difficult to hit it out of bounds from the first tee on the Old Course, with the biggest fairway in golf ahead of you, but even someone with the status of Justin Timberlake will feel nerves there.
Speaking from experience, to stand on the 18th green, in front of the R&A clubhouse, and lift a trophy is an amazing feeling. Whatever the event is, to win here is possibly the most special experience you can have in golf outside of winning the majors.
There may be a fun element to this week's event, across three fantastic courses, but it's a big tournament in its own right and Rory McIlroy would absolutely love to win here. He has already achieved so much in the game, but he'd love to add a win at St Andrews to it.
McIlroy has had quite an emotional season, having not picked up one of the majors and then winning the FedExCup in the manner he did, which will have taken it out of him both physically and mentally.
He has played an awful lot of golf and when you look at his performance last week at the BMW PGA Championship, you could potentially put it down to fatigue. Having said that, he will be keen to continue his consistent year and will understand what is expected of him this week.
McIlroy only pegs up to try and win events and is playing with his father this week, which should mean he's going to be relaxed, going to have fun and hopefully be challenging on Sunday.
Jon Rahm is also in action in Scotland and I think he's going to relish this event. He loves his golf history and this place and the whole ethos of the tournament is just going to play right into his hands.
He's a double Irish Open champion around strong, testing links courses, so he's familiar with the conditions he's going to face this week and I think he could continue his tremendous form.
Watch the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 1pm on Sky Sports Golf.