To the right, the 18th hole of the Old Course, is one of golf’s most famous spots.
On the left, the Swilcan Bridge. And in the distance, the St. Andrews beach where those “Chaith of Fire” footraces were filmed.
Watching Saturday from a high above all this, NFL royalty.
The Manning brothers – Peyton, Allie and Cooper – had just returned from their rounds of golf and had gathered with guests on a spacious balcony to watch the spectacular finishing hole of the British Open. They are among a group of investors who recently bought and renovated the historic Rusacks Hotel, which this week at the 50-yard line of Golf’s Super Bowl is the equivalent of the world’s largest luxury box.
“As an investor, I just wanted to come here and see if it even existed,” Peyton joked, adding that he needed his older brother, Cooper, to pull together capital for the project. was responsible.
It’s an ambitious effort, the next phase of a venture that began with boutique hotels in US college towns. The group now has three other deals for golf course hotels, in North Berwick and Troon in Scotland and Royal County Down in Northern Ireland.
Cooper, senior managing director at AJ Capital Partners, said, “When I told people about this project, that we have an opportunity to buy this space, and we are never going to sell it, they were stunned. “
Ben Weprin, chief executive officer of the investment group, said: “This place is the Mona Lisa.”
In fact, Peyton had just returned from the actual Mona Lisa, when he and his wife Ashley traveled to see major championship golf after vacationing in London and Paris.
Peyton has become a big Rory McIlroy fan in recent years, after getting to know him while playing at the Memorial Tournament in Muirfield Village. McIlroy is entering the final round of the Open tied for the lead with Victor Hovland.
“I had one wonderful trip with Rory after another” [Memorial] round, in the weight room of all places,” Peyton said. “They still let me in there. I’m looking forward to an evening cocktail reception I’m having with some clients, and I’m trying to kill time. And these guys are out there stretching and getting ready for the next day’s round. I’ve seen Rory in the weight room several times over the years and have always had a good meeting with him. I’m pulling for him. ,
Eli, meanwhile, played in the Memorial Tournament last year with No. 1 ranked Scotty Schaeffler, who is currently ranked fifth.
“Allie takes full credit,” Peyton said. “He said he gave Scheffler a little impetus and rode on him like a spring. Unfortunately, over time, you really believe in him. It’s like, ‘Wait a minute, he really I was not winning, and now….’”
Peyton and Allie may roam around Scotland a bit more anonymously than they might back home, but sometimes on Saturdays, passersby spot one of them on a second-floor balcony, dead and dead. Do a triple-take.
“Even my caddy told me he didn’t really recognize me until he read my name on my bag,” Peyton said. “He said, ‘I know who you are. My brother is an Eagles fan.’ I think it will be the same way rugby players come to the States or something.”
There’s no doubt that Mannings is more recognizable than him, but he likes to try to mix. In the same way with Rusacks (pronounced ROO-sax). His group is making great efforts to maintain the character of the place, ensuring that the new 50-room wing blends in with the rest of the space, which was built in 1887.
Somehow, from the One Under Bar, basement hamburger joint that’s open to the public, to the reservation-only rooftop restaurant “18”—named for the golf hole, not Peyton’s jersey number—Russack is the place to be this week.
“You can’t beat it,” said Allie, the eighteenth hole of the British Open, to come here with my brothers and friends and see it.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.