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BlogDunhill Links Preview and Picks

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

October 6th – 9th, 2016

Old Course at St. Andrews

St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,307

Purse: $5.45 million

with $771,720 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Thorbjorn Olesen

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 22 of the top 100 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest rank player in the field being #9 Danny Willett. Here are the rest of the top-100 players: #14 Branden Grace, #20 Louis Oosthuizen, #29 Alex Noren, #30 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #39 Thomas Pieters, #41 Shane Lowry, #45 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #47 Lee Westwood, #48 Martin Kaymer, #49 Soren Kjeldsen, #53 Tyrrell Hatton, #58 Bernd Wiesberger, #63 Joost Luiten, #76 Andrew Johnston, #83 Rikard Karlberg, #84 Bradley Dredge, #85 Thorbjorn Olesen, #92 Ross Fisher, #94 Brandon Stone, #96 Jamie Donaldson and #98 Victor Dubuisson.

Last year the field had 31 top-100 players off the world rankings.

The field includes 16 of the Top 25 on this year’s Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #1 Danny Willett, #4 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #5 Louis Oosthuizen, #6 Branden Grace, #8 Alex Noren, #9 Tyrrell Hatton, #10 Lee Westwood, #11 Joost Luiten, #12 Martin Kaymer, #16 Thomas Pieters, #18 Andrew Johnston, #20 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #21 Soren Kjeldsen, #22 Shane Lowry, #23 Bradley Dredge and #25 Bernd Wiesberger,

There are six of the 12 Ryder Cup members playing this week: Danny Willett, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Pieters and Matthew Fitzpatrick

The field includes 12 past champions: Thorbjorn Olesen (2015), Oliver Wilson (2014), David Howell (2014), Branden Grace (2012), Michael Hoey (2011), Martin Kaymer (2010), Simon Dyson (2009), Robert Karlsson (2008), Nick Dougherty (2007), Padraig Harrington (2006 & ’02), Stephen Gallacher (2004) and Lee Westwood (2003).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Alfred Dunhill Links field is our performance chart listed by average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Alfred Dunhill Links in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Alfred Dunhill Links.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

24/7 GOLF is no more.  We have retired the name and the app for a new and better app for golf.  So check out

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So if you own a Iphone or a Ipad we have developed a perfect app called GOLF IQ.

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Player Porsche European Open Italian Open KLM Open Omega European Masters Made in Denmark Czech Masters Olympic Men’s Golf Paul Lawrie Matchplay PGA Championship
Alexander Levy
(219 pts)
Win
(132)
T7
(55)
T34
(10.67)
T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Richard Bland
(213 pts)
T7
(55)
T5
(70)
T16
(22.67)
T5
(46.67)
DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP T17
(11)
DNP
Martin Kaymer
(178.33 pts)
6
(60)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP T7
(36.67)
Robert Karlsson
(151.67 pts)
T3
(90)
T30
(20)
T69
(0)
DNP T15
(23.33)
T7
(18.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(149 pts)
5
(70)
DNP 2
(66.67)
T41
(6)
DNP DNP T11
(13)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Thomas Pieters
(148 pts)
T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
2
(33.33)
4
(26.67)
DNP 86
(0)
David Lipsky
(145.67 pts)
T24
(26)
T16
(34)
DNP T58
(0)
T3
(60)
6
(20)
DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP
Alejandro Canizares
(139 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T7
(55)
T4
(53.33)
T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(136.33 pts)
T13
(37)
T7
(55)
T10
(26.67)
T49
(0.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP
Alex Noren
(132.67 pts)
DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
T49
(0.67)
David Horsey
(129.67 pts)
T49
(1)
T5
(70)
T4
(53.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T47
(1)
DNP T17
(11)
DNP
Danny Willett
(129.67 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP T79
(0)
Joost Luiten
(119 pts)
DNP T38
(12)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP T33
(11.33)
Chris Paisley
(106.67 pts)
T49
(1)
T3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T34
(10.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(103 pts)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP T7
(36.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
5
(23.33)
DNP T9
(15)
T49
(0.67)
Ross Fisher
(102 pts)
2
(100)
DNP T45
(3.33)
T58
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
Renato Paratore
(100 pts)
T20
(30)
71
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
T7
(36.67)
T18
(21.33)
T27
(7.67)
DNP T17
(11)
DNP
Richard Green
(97.33 pts)
T13
(37)
T16
(34)
CUT
(-6.67)
T24
(17.33)
T50
(0.67)
DNP DNP T9
(15)
DNP
Nacho Elvira
(91.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T3
(90)
T45
(3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T83
(0)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP
Mike Lorenzo-vera
(91.33 pts)
T13
(37)
T72
(0)
T8
(33.33)
T12
(25.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP
Bradley Dredge
(88 pts)
T13
(37)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
2
(66.67)
T47
(1)
DNP DNP T79
(0)
Nicolas Colsaerts
(83.67 pts)
T13
(37)
T38
(12)
T24
(17.33)
T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Florian Fritsch
(83.33 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T7
(36.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T35
(5)
DNP DNP DNP
Oliver Fisher
(82 pts)
T28
(22)
T53
(0)
T28
(14.67)
T12
(25.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
T68
(0)
DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP
Scott Jamieson
(78.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T7
(55)
T10
(26.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T57
(0)
T27
(7.67)
DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Player Porsche European Open Italian Open KLM Open Omega European Masters Made in Denmark Czech Masters Olympic Men’s Golf Paul Lawrie Matchplay PGA Championship
Bjorn Akesson
(-43.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Jin Jeong
(-37.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP
Simon Dyson
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T61
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Morten Orum Madsen
(-34.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP
Borja Virto Astudillo
(-31.67 pts)
WD
(-5)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T65
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Eddie Pepperell
(-28.33 pts)
DNP DQ
(-5)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Andrew Mcarthur
(-28.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T35
(5)
DNP DNP DNP
Gary Stal
(-27.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T83
(0)
DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP
Alvaro Quiros
(-27.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP
Edouard Espana
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T59
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

What a Ryder Cup, it’s about time the American team finally won again but what I got out of it was how great the European team took it.  We all had an idea that the European Team would be outgunned by the American team, but what struck me was the way that the European team handled the defeat.  Frankly they had some gripes, mostly the 2% of the crowd that were really nasty and heckled several of the European players.  I hate that the greed of the Ryder Cup means that so many people are admitted and that they started beer sales at 7am.  So that meant that by lunch time several “fans” were intoxicated and being complete asses.  The point in this was how the European team never complained and made it a point of saying that this was one of the reasons they lost.  In 1999 when the Europeans lost, they made a point to say that the crowd went overboard and were egged on by several American players, caddies and officials.  But that never came up and when the media tried to bait the players to complain, they never did which was great.

One thing that I think the Europeans need to change for 2018 is this silly rule that says that a player has to be a member of the European Tour.  Because of that two hot players, Paul Casey and Kenny Knox weren’t considered and frankly they would of been a better captain pick than Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood, two of Darren Clarke’s picks (he also picked Thomas Pieters).  Of the two, Kaymer and Westwood played in 7 matches and accounted for a combined 1-6-0 record which is the main reason for the European defeat.

As for the American team, Davis Love III did a terrific job in keeping all 12 ego’s checked and they seemed to mess together as a team.  Is this due to the decisions of the Task Force which was put together after the 2014 matches?  Yes and no, yes on the four wild card picks and the last minute pick of Ryan Moore worked as he won two points with a 2-1-0 record.  I will go out on the limb to say that this last minute pick will stay in place for the 2018 matches.

Now the American’s won this year, but if you look at the make-up of the teams, I saw one thing that could prove important in the years to come.  Yes the American team had some great young talent in Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler, but I can see the future of the European team being better.  Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick may of looked to be overwhelmed with the matches, but Chris Wood and Thomas Pieters looked like Ryder Cup veterans and I can see Pieters being a factor in majors for many years to come.  In a way this year was a bit of a changing of the guard, guys like Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood have been big players in the domination of the European Tour but they have aged and it’s time to fill there shoes with new blood, that happened this week.

So this year’s Ryder Cup was good and we will see what happens in future years.  I wouldn’t say that this could be the start of an American dominance, but I can see that the future of Ryder Cup will be in good hands for years to come.

This week’s Alfred Dunhill Links…

is the European Tours answer to the PGA Tours AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.  A pro-am event held over three great links with the conclusion on the home of golf, the Old Course of St. Andrews.

With the FedEx Cup over and the PGA Tour getting ready to start the 2017 season, they have gotten a very good field to play.  7  Major Champions including Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Padraig Harrington, Y.E. Yang, Graeme McDowell, Danny Willett and Trevor Immelman  will be playing. Defending champion Thorbjorn Olesen will also be returning, hoping to become the first player to win back-to-back Alfred Dunhill Links titles.

What makes this event unique is that each pro will be partner with an amateur partner and play one round over the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie.  All three are challenging with the Old Course and Carnoustie sites of past British Opens.  As for Kingsbarns, the course is only 15 years old and over the course of time could be good enough to also hold an Open Championship on it’s links.

After this week there will only be three chances to make it into the Race to Dubai playoffs with events in England, Portugal and China.  After the conclusion of the WGC-HSBC CHampions the Race to Dubai list will be converted into a points table with each euro equaling a point.  The big difference is the Final Series is just three events, with the Nedbank Golf Challenge being added before the DP World Tour Championship Dubai.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Alfred Dunhill Links:

Key stat for the winner:

Have to handle three of the best golf courses in the world as you play with another pro and an amateur for the first three days.  Those that have won in the past are patient men, also have to be able to handle all of the elements because this is the time of year that the weather will be changing and it will be a lot cooler and wetter than it was when the British Open was played in Scotland in July.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • Lots of marquee winners in the 15 years of this event with Martin Kaymer, Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood and Paul Lawrie claiming the title.  But it doesn’t mean that a first timer can’t win, in 2004 Scottish born Stephen Gallacher was a very popular winner and showed that anyone can win this title.
  • Have to be able to handle poor weather.  In looking at some predications for the week, it looks like it’s going to be cold every day, not getting higher than 57 with a 20% chance of rain.  There will be some wind that will make the courses play tough.  All three courses are on the sea and won’t get protected from the cold winds blowing in off the North seas.
  • Again I can’t stress the importance of check out our European Tour player rankings page to see who is playing the best.
  • In gauging things it’s important to point out that of the three courses, St. Andrews will play the easiest and Carnoustie will play the hardest.  So when looking at first round scores don’t disregard someone that shoots between 70 and 74 at Carnoustie.  Now the a key is to play hard in the first round, no winner since 2006 has shot higher than 68 with Branden Grace opening up with a 60 in 2012 and Oliver Wilson opening with a 64 in 2014.

 

Who to watch for at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Best Bets:

Louis Oosthuizen

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T6 CUT CUT T5 CUT T40 CUT CUT CUT T44

He is fresh not playing since the BMW Championship last month. He made a good run in the FedEx Cup playoffs, just miss getting to the fourth event. But we pick him because of his record on the Old Course (winning the Open Championship) plus a couple of top-ten’s in this event.

Tommy Fleetwood

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T13 T2 5 T55 T5

I like him a lot, in his last three starts finished in the top-15 and finished 2nd in this event in 2014.

Thomas Pieters

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T18

Coming off of a great Ryder Cup, look for his good play to continue.

Best of the rest:

Robert Karlsson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T14 T45 T29 CUT Win T61 T15 T3 CUT

Has won this event and finished T-3rd in his last start in Germany two weeks ago.

Bernd Wiesberger

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T4 T14 T12 CUT CUT

Was 5th in Germany two weeks ago and finished T-4th last year in this event.

Branden Grace

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T30 T25 T59 Win CUT

Has played well in this event, has had some time off.

David Howell

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T14 Win T34 CUT T8 CUT T60 CUT CUT T37 T5

Another past champion that could do well this week.

Solid contenders

Alex Noren

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T40 3 T39 T17 CUT T48 T45

Won just a month ago and was 3rd in this event in 2012.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT CUT CUT CUT T30 CUT T4

Looking to come back in this event. After finishing T-4th in 2009 has missed the cut in five of his last Dunhill starts.

Padraig Harrington

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T18 T40 T29 8 T17 T26 T13 T8 Win T3 CUT

Great record in this event with six top-ten finishes.

Richie Ramsay

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T2 T33 CUT T39 T62 T4

Almost won this event in 2014.

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Long shots that could come through:

Sean O’Hair

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT CUT

He could be a big surprise this week.

Tyrrell Hatton

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT CUT

About time that he plays well in this event.

Chris Stroud

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T2

Was runner-up last year, was trying to save his PGA Tour card but won’t so looking to play well this week.

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