JUNE 11, 2012
ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND | St Andrews is
synonymous with golf. It has seen all the
greatest champions walk the hallowed
turf, cross the fabled Swilcan Bridge and,
more than likely, refresh themselves in
the legendary Dunvegan Pub.
A visit to the Old Course – a pilgrimage
that every golfer wants to make – is probably the reason last week’s St Andrews
Links Trophy offered one of the finest
fields in amateur golf. This year’s event
attracted 144 competitors hoping to add
their name aside the 2011 champion Tom
Lewis, who cites his win at St Andrews as
one of his top accolades in 2011.
John Grant, director of golf at St An-
drews Links Trust, said, “The St Andrews
Links Trophy is one of the big events on
the amateur golfing calendar and it at-
tracts entries from throughout the world.”
The tournament has grown year on
year since its 1988 inception. It has had
some of the best players in the world
compete and that includes Ernie Els,
Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose (winner
1997), Geoff Ogilvy, Lee Westwood, Luke
Donald and Rory McIlroy.
However, the success of the championship and its popularity is not without a price.
There were over a hundred unsuccessful entries. One notable name that failed to make
the ballot was Paul Barjon who triumphed
two weeks ago at the Carrick Neill Scottish
Open Stroke Play Championship at Barassie.
Barjon found himself the 12th reserve at the
start of play on Friday.
The problem is pretty simple: the
demand outstrips the supply, and the
Links Trophy is a victim of its own success.
There has to be questions asked why a
player of Barjon’s caliber is not playing?
Grant is very aware of high-profile players
not making the ballot.
Looking at the draw you could be forgiven
for not knowing where the tournament was
played. Australia had 17 competitors in the
draw compared with the 16 from the host
made tweaks each year to move with the
times to insure the best possible field.”
One tweak Grant refers to was Walker
Cup player Allan Dunbar, the 2009 cham-
pion, who didn’t make the handicap ballot
in 2011. Dunbar had to sit it out on the
reserve list. There is now an exception
for past champions and any golfers in the
Walker Cup or St Andrews Trophy squad.
Currently, the Links Trophy uses a mix-
ture of invitations and the CONGU handi-
cap system for the most part. There is an
exception for the leading 30 entrants on
the WAGR system within the top 300. The
invitations are granted to various Interna-
tional unions and federations. Once those
70 or so positions are filled, the field is
tournament was played. Australia had 17
competitors in the draw compared with
the 16 from the host nation Scotland.
Notable Scots not to make the ballot were
Matt Clark of Kilmacolm and Ross Bell of
Downfield who occupied places No. 3 and
No. 5, respectively, on the Scottish Golf
Union Order of Merit. They also occupied
places No. 2 and 31 on the reserve list.