"Play is conducted at a funereal pace."

Alistair Tait gets us in the mood to not watch the Dunhill Cup, once a great event.

The Pro-Am format of the Alfred Dunhill is something that has never actually caught the imagination of Scottish golf fans. While the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is well supported, Scottish golf fans haven’t exactly welcomed the St. Andrews equivalent with open arms.

I put it down to three reasons. The first is painfully obvious. Play is conducted at a funereal pace. Six-hour rounds are the norm. Play at St. Andrews is usually slow given that everyone who plays there wants to experience every last second on the Old Course. However, pace of play in the Alfred Dunhill would make snails seem quick.

Then there is the time of year. October is hardly balmy weather in Scotland, so the chance to actually recognize a celebrity let alone watch one is almost impossible. Movie actress Ines Sastre was in the field the year I covered the tournament. As far as ogling went, it wasn’t easy to appreciate her full beauty when she was wrapped in waterproofs and a bobble hat.

Besides, many of the celebrities fall into the B-list category anyway.

However, the bottom line is that Scottish golf fans have no interest in watching celebrities, A-list or otherwise, hack their way around the sacred turf of St. Andrews. The year I went I counted just 29 people in the grandstand behind the Old Course’s 18th green as former soccer great Sir Bobby Charlton played his approach.