Golfing greats exhibition tees off

Tuesday 10 September 2002

Golfing images archived by the University of St Andrews are to be displayed to coincide with this year’s Dunhill Links Championship.

The images by renowned Fife photographer George Cowie (1902- 1982), many of which have never been seen before in public, will be displayed at the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews.

For more than half a century, Cowie lived in St Andrews and captured all aspects of life in and around the town, providing a unique portrait of the community. While his work is renowned for its breadth and variety, he is perhaps best known for what initially attracted him to the ‘Old Grey Toon’ – the game of golf. His outstanding collection of photographs, which also includes the work of his wife, son and other earlier photographers, serves as an extraordinary rich record of almost every facet of life on and around the Old Course.

Often in collaboration with local journalist Alex Paterson, Cowie recorded the visits of many of the major players and personalities who took part in the long tradition of pilgrimage to St Andrews and the Old Course. Among them were Bing Crosby, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Harold Macmillan, Billy Graham, Bobby Jones, General Eisenhower, Henry Cotton, Jack Nicklaus, Bob Hope, Bobby Locke and hundreds of others.

Cowie’s outstanding collection of golfing photographs are part of a wider collection of more than 300,000 images archived by the University. Also comprising the Valentine and RM Adam material, as well as an amazing wealth of very early photography, the collection is one of the UK’s most important photographic archives. The collections are gradually being digitised, pending various fundraising initiatives.

Dr Norman H Reid, Keeper of Manuscripts at St Andrews University Library said, “The University is delighted to be able to collaborate with Dunhill to help bring this important and exciting collection to the golfing public, both to let them see some of its treasures, and to heighten awareness of it. Its long-term preservation and accessibility will depend on it becoming digitised, and for that we will be dependent on the generosity of donors external to the University.”

The exhibition pictures have been personally selected and printed by the highly respected artist, Harold Riley. Harold has chosen 50 images from the Cowie collection primarily relating to celebrity golfers and tournament players, on behalf of Dunhill, who are funding the exhibition.

Harold said, “I was fortunate enough to have access to many thousands of negatives, glass plates and prints taken by George. From these I have selected a hitherto unseen exhibition of pictures depicting famous golfers and celebrities at St Andrews. The collection goes back to the early part of the last century and contain some of the most exciting pictures ever taken at the Old Course.¿

The exhibition opens just ahead of the $5 million Dunhill Links Championship, one of Europe’s most prestigious golf tournaments, which will be played over three courses – The Old Course, St Andrews; the Championship Course at Carnoustie; and Kingsbarns Golf Links from 3-6 October 2002.

This year’s event promises to be another big name affair, attracting some of the world’s top professional golfers and international celebrities from the worlds of sport and entertainment. This year’s British Open Champion, Ernie Els, defending champion Paul Lawrie, Reteif Goosen and Vijay Singh are among those professional golfers who will play alongside international sports stars such as Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Zinzan Brooke, Sir Bobby Charlton, Johan Cruyff, Kenny Dalgleish, Kapil Dev, Darren Gough, Alan Hansen, Gavin Hastings, Franz Klammer, Gary Lineker, Michael Lynagh, Nigel Mansell, Massimo Mauro, Tom Okker, Sir Steve Redgrave, Barry Richards, Marco van Basten and Gianluca Vialli.

The official Dunhill Links Championship trophy will go on display from next week. Members of the public can catch a glimpse of the hand-crafted work of art at Dave McNicoll’s Golf Shop in Carnoustie from 16-22 September and at Auchterlonie’s in St Andrews from 23-29 September.

Further information available at ENDS


For further information/pictures, please contact Mike McPartlin or Bill Shaw at Catchline PR and Communications – telephone 01592 643200, fax 01592 643201 or email [email protected] or Claire Grainger, Press Officer, University of St Andrews – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email [email protected].


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