Immediately to the right, the 18th hole of the Old Course, one of the most famous spots in golf.
On the left, the Swilcan bridge. And in the distance, St. Andrews beach where these “Chariots of Fire” foot races were filmed.
Watch Saturday from a perch high above it all, NFL royalty.
The Manning brothers – Peyton, Eli and Cooper – had just returned from their own round of golf and gathered with guests on a spacious balcony overlooking the legendary British Open finishing hole. They are part of the group of investors who recently purchased and renovated the historic Rusacks Hotel, which this week is the equivalent of the world’s largest luxury box on golf’s Super Bowl 50-yard line.
“As an investor, I just wanted to come here and see if it existed,” Peyton joked, nudging his older brother, Cooper, who was in charge of raising the capital for the project.
It’s an ambitious undertaking, the next phase of a venture that began with boutique hotels in American college towns. The group now has three more golf hotel deals underway, in North Berwick and Troon in Scotland, and Royal County Down in Northern Ireland.
“When I told people about this project, that we had a chance to buy this place and we were never going to sell it, they were blown away,” said Cooper, senior managing director of AJ Capital Partners. .
Cooper Manning, the brother of former NFL stars Peyton and Eli Manning, stands on a balcony of the hotel the brothers bought next to the Old Course at St Andrews Golf Club in Scotland.
Said Ben Weprin, managing director of the investment group: “This place is the Mona Lisa.”
In fact, Peyton had just returned from the Mona Lisa, taking a trip to attend a major golf championship after he and his wife, Ashley, vacationed in London and Paris.
Peyton has become a huge Rory McIlroy fan in recent years, having gotten to know him while playing the Memorial Tournament in Muirfield Village. McIlroy heads into the final round of the Open tied for the lead with Viktor Hovland.
“I had a great visit with Rory after a [Memorial] round, in the weight room of all places,” Peyton said. “They still let me in there. I’m expecting an evening cocktail that I’m having with a few clients, and I’m trying to kill time. And these guys are stretching and getting ready for the round the next day. I have seen Rory in several weight rooms over the years and have always had good visits with him. I shoot for him.
Eli, meanwhile, played in the Memorial Tournament last year with No. 1-ranked Scottie Scheffler, currently tied for fifth.
“Eli takes all the credit,” Peyton said. “He said he gave Scheffler a little pep talk and kind of kickstarted him. Unfortunately, with the timing, you kind of believe it. It’s like, ‘Wait a minute, he really wasn’t winning, and now….’ »
Peyton and Eli can move around Scotland a little more anonymously than they can at home, but sometimes on Saturday passers-by spot one on the second-floor balcony, stop dead and do a triple take.
“Even my caddy told me he really wouldn’t have recognized 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 imagine it would be the same if rugby players came to the States or something.
There’s no doubt the Mannings are more recognizable than that, but they like to try to blend in. Same with the Rusacks (pronounced ROO-sax). Their group has gone to great lengths to maintain the character of the place, taking care to ensure that the new 50-room wing blends in with the rest of the place, which was built in 1887.
Either way, from One Under Bar, the basement burger joint open to the public, to the reservations-only rooftop restaurant “18” — named after the golf holes, not the jersey number Peyton – The Rusacks are the place to be this week.
“The eighteenth hole of the British Open, coming here with my brothers and friends and watching it,” Eli said, “you can’t beat it.”