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Manning brothers enjoy British Open from balcony overlooking 18th hole

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Golf

ST ANDREWS, Scotland — To the immediate right, the 18th hole of the Old Course, among the most famous spots in golf.

To the left, the Swilcan Bridge. And in the distance, the St Andrews beach where those "Chariots of Fire" footraces were filmed.

Watching Saturday from a lofty perch above it all, NFL royalty.

The Manning brothers — Peyton, Eli and Cooper — had just returned from their own round of golf and had gathered with guests on a spacious balcony overlooking the legendary finishing hole of the British Open. They are among the group of investors who recently bought and renovated the historic Rusacks Hotel, which this week is the equivalent of the world's biggest luxury box on the 50-yard line of golf's Super Bowl.

"As an investor, I just wanted to come over here and see if it existed," joked Peyton, needling his older brother, Cooper, who was responsible for pulling together the capital for the project.

It's an ambitious endeavor, the next phase of an enterprise that started with boutique hotels in U.S. college towns. The group now has three other deals for golf course hotels in the works, at 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 that we were never going to sell it, they were blown away," said Cooper, senior managing director of AJ Capital Partners.

Said Ben Weprin, the investment group's chief executive: "This place is the Mona Lisa."

Matter of fact, Peyton had just returned from the actual Mona Lisa, making a trip to watch major championship golf after he and his wife, Ashley, had a vacation in London and Paris.

Peyton has become a big Rory McIlroy fan in recent years, having gotten to know him while playing at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village. McIlroy is heading into the final round of the Open tied for the lead with Viktor Hovland.

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