ST ANDREWS, September 26, 2018 – Former world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko will be swapping his boxing gloves for a golf glove at St Andrews next month when he plays in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Wladimir retired in August 2017 after a 21-year career in which he won 64 of his 69 fights and at various times held the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles. He is the second longest serving champion of all time behind Joe Louis, with 23 title defences to Louis’s 25.
In the ring he had a good right hook, but does he hook the ball off the tee? He says: “It’s fortunate I don’t play golf for a living, but St. Andrews is the mecca of golf, and it’s an honour to play there with the pro’s.”
He will be joined by British actors Hugh Grant and Matthew Goode and US country music star Clay Walker, who have all confirmed they will play in the Championship, which takes place from October 4-7.
Hugh is fresh from his much admired performance as former UK Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe in A Very English Scandal, while Matthew is currently involved in production of the film of Downton Abbey due to be released in 2019.
Matthew said: “It’s that time of year again when I feel as I did when I played important matches for school. Utterly overjoyed to have been asked to come again to the Alfred Dunhill Links. The swing is in better shape than last year so hopefully the game will match the quality of this extraordinary week.”
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship celebrates links golf at its finest and is played over three of the world’s best known and respected links courses – the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie, venue for last July’s Open Championship, and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links.
With a prize fund of US$5 million, the Alfred Dunhill Links, which raises substantial funds for charity each year, incorporates two separate competitions – an individual professional tournament for the world’s leading golfers and the Team Championship, in which the pro’s are paired with amateur players, creating a unique atmosphere.
A ‘super group’ of great music stars, past and present, will be playing, including Keane’s Tom Chaplin, Linkin Park’s Dave Farrell, music giant Ronan Keating and Brian McFadden, former lead singer of Westlife, Mike Rutherford from Genesis, country and western star Clay Walker and hugely popular legends Huey Lewis and Bon Jovi’s Tico Torres.
Sports stars taking part include Sir Steve Redgrave, making his 18th straight appearance, cricketers Michael Vaughan, Kevin Pietersen, Shane Warne, Jacques Kallis, Allan Lamb and Mark Nicholas, Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll, 20-times National Hunt champion jockey Sir Tony (A.P.) McCoy and Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit.
They will be teaming up with a world-class field of professionals, led by defending champion Tyrrell Hatton who is bidding to become the first man to win the Alfred Dunhill Links trophy three straight times.
Also playing are top Americans Brooks Koepka, current US Open and US PGA champion, Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar, England’s world No.12 Tommy Fleetwood, and other Major Champions Martin Kaymer, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Louis Oosthuizen and Graeme McDowell, plus Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez, winner of the Senior British Open in July.