Aussie cricket legend Shane Warne was one of a galaxy of sports stars competing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which finishes today on the Old Course at St Andrews. After finishing his round yesterday, the Dunhill ambassador gave us his spin on the experience.
ESQ: How have you got on this week?
SW: “This is the third time I’ve played in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and it really is a wonderful week. My professional partner was Peter O’Malley, another Aussie and one of the nicest blokes you could ever meet, and for three days we were paired against Sir Ian Botham and his partner, Paul Broadhurst. It’s the third time I’ve played with Beefy and as you’d imagine, there was some good banter and a fair few side bets. I played as good as I can play but we still finished all level so no money changed hands.
ESQ: Have you bumped in to any other mates?
SW: “One of the great thing about the event is you get to meet and spend time with so many interesting people from different walks of life. It was great for me to catch up with (surfer) Kelly Slater, who I know well, and also people like Huey Lewis and Ronan Keating who I have got to know over the years.
ESQ: What affect does playing with pros have on your own game?
SW: “The professional golfers seem to love the tournament too. They are very relaxed, even though they’re playing for an important title and lot of money. It’s such a privilege to be able to watch them close up – how they prepare, how they practice and, of course, how well they play. Even though there are a lot of guys in the field who have done great things in sport – guys like Ruud Gullit, Bobby Charlton, Johan Cryuff – we still get nervous about playing golf with the top pros. It’s not something we’re confident at.
ESQ: Does St Andrews live up to its reputation?
SW: “St Andrews is such a special place – literally special - and when you walk over the bridge on the 18th hole you can’t help but think about all the famous names to have gone before. I’m a member at Capital Golf Club in Melbourne, where my handicap is 13. I’ve played better than that this week and one day I’d love to make it through to play the final round on the Old Course, as the top 20 teams get to do. I’ve missed it three times now but as long as I’m invited back I’ll give it my best shot.
ESQ: What's next for you?
SW: I’ve just been inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame so I’ll be heading home for that, and then playing a few poker tournaments. I finished 701st at the World Series in Las Vegas, though my best performance was finishing 14th out of 950 top players from Australia, Asia and the Pacific Rim in a tournament in Melbourne, so I'd say my poker is a little better than my golf.”
Follow the final day action at www.alfreddunhilllinks.com