The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship format really consists of two golf tournaments going on at the same time for the 168 professionals in the field.
The 168 pros are each paired with an amateur player, forming 168 two-player teams. Those teams are grouped into 42 foursomes over the first three days, with 14 groups playing each day on one of three courses -- the Old Course at St. Andrews Golf Links, the Championship Course at Carnoustie Golf Club and Kingsbarns Golf Links.
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship format
For the professionals, the tournament format is simple: the usual 72-hole, stroke-play tournament you see most weeks on the European Tour. Lowest score wins.
For the pro-am competition, the format is net best ball of partners. That means the professional and the amateur each play each hole. The score counts for the player that has the better score once two-thirds of each amateur's handicap is factored. Each amateur's handicap is different, ranging from 0 (meaning they get no strokes to help them) to 18 (they get one stroke on every hole) for the men or 24 for the women (they get a stroke on every hole and two on the six hardest holes).
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship pro and pro-am cut rules
After the first three rounds are completed, the cut rule kicks in, dropping the field to the top 60 pros and ties and the top 20 pro-am teams and ties which advance to Sunday's final round at the Old Course. Any ties that spill over beyond the 20-team limit leads to a tiebreaker.