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Faldo & Olazabal commit to Alfred Dunhill

Three-times British Open champion Nick Faldo and twice Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal have confirmed they will play in this month's $5 million Dunhill Links Championship, organisers said today.
Faldo and Olazabal will join other major winners Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Steve Elkington and Ian Woosnam in the richest golf event ever staged in Britain.

Top European players Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke are also in the field.

The tournament, which takes place from October 18-21, offers a first prize of £570,000 ($843,000), only £30,000 less than what David Duval earned for winning the British Open at Royal Lytham earlier in the year.

Although no American golfers have so far committed to play in the event, organisers were pleased to announce on Tuesday that US celebrities Michael Douglas, Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell and Kyle MacLachlan would be taking part in the pro-am.

"There had been fears that, as with the postponed Ryder Cup and several other European tournaments, the Dunhill Links Championship...might be in jeopardy," the organisers said in a statement, referring to the aftermath of the recent suicide plane attacks on the United States.

"But today's confirmation that Hollywood and other US and European stars are signing up for the tournament suggests the 'deadlock' on trans-Atlantic travel is loosening."

The four-day event, which replaces the former Alfred Dunhill Cup team contest, will be played on a pro-am format at the three links courses of St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

A total of 156 teams, featuring one professional and one amateur, will play one round on each of the three layouts before the field is cut to the leading 60 professionals and ties, plus the 20 leading teams.

The final round will be played over the Old Course at St Andrews.

The line-up of celebrities taking part includes actors Douglas, Jackson, Russell and MacLachlan and sportsmen Steve Redgrave, Nasser Hussain, Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Nigel Mansell, Marco van Basten, Gary Lineker, Bobby Charlton, Kenny Dalglish, Gavin Hastings and Zinzan Brooke.

Money raised at the event will be donated to the St Andrews Pilgrim Foundation, a charity which funds restoration of historic monuments and buildings at the royal and ancient home of golf.

Patrons of the charity include Scottish actor Sean Connery and golfers Montgomerie, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Arnold Palmer, Sam Torrance, Tony Jacklin and Peter Alliss.


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