Doubts as Dunhill deliberate

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The European Tour has announced its 2002 schedule with one notable absentee – the Dunhill Links Championship won last Monday by Paul Lawrie.

At £3.5m the event was Britain's richest, and it was expected to take place next year. But a Dunhill spokesperson said: "All we are saying is that Dunhill is considering its position."

Keith Waters, the tour's director of international policy, said it was "a huge shock" when Dunhill asked for the tournament to be taken off the schedule. A five-year contract had been signed to stage it at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, but the celebrity pro-am, forced into a fifth day by bad weather, came in for criticism. Press coverage focused on the small crowds and the wisdom of staging it over three courses in Scotland in October.