Manning brothers enjoy British Open from balcony overlooking 18th hole

Immediately to the right is the 18th hole of the Old Course, one of the most famous golf courses.

Swilcan Bridge on the left. And in the distance St Andrews Beach where the Chariots of Fire races were filmed.

Watching Saturday from a lofty place above it all, NFL kings.

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

“As an investor, I just wanted to come here and see if it existed,” Peyton joked, teasing his older brother Cooper, who was responsible for raising capital for the project.

It’s an ambitious venture, the next phase of a venture that began with boutique hotels in US college towns. The group now has three more golf hotel businesses in the works, 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 would never sell it, they were blown away,” said Cooper, senior managing director of AJ Capital Partners.

Cooper Manning, 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.

Ben Weprin, the investment group’s chief executive, said, “This place is the Mona Lisa.”

In fact, Peyton had just returned from the actual Mona Lisa and had taken a trip to watch a big championship golf after he and his wife Ashley had vacationed in London and Paris.

Peyton has become a huge Rory McIlroy fan in recent years after meeting him at the Memorial Tournament in Muirfield Village. McIlroy goes into the final round of the Open level on points with Viktor Hovland.

“I had a great visit with Rory after one [Memorial] in the weight room, of all things,” Peyton said. “They let me in anyway. I’m waiting for an evening cocktail reception I’m giving with some clients and I’m trying to kill time. And these guys are in there stretching and getting ready for the next day’s round. I have seen Rory in several weight rooms over the years and have always had good visits with him. I draw for him.”

Eli, meanwhile, played in last year’s Memorial tournament with 1st-ranked Scottie Scheffler, who is currently 5th.

“Eli deserves full credit,” Peyton said. “He said he gave Scheffler a little pep talk and kind of made him a stepping stone. Unfortunately, you somehow believe him with the timing. It’s like, ‘Wait a minute, he really didn’t win, and now…’”

Peyton and Eli can move around Scotland a little more anonymously than at home, but occasionally on Saturday passersby would spot one of them on the second floor balcony, stop and take a triple shot.

“Even my caddy told me he really didn’t recognize me until he saw 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 question that the Mannings are more recognizable, but they like to try to fit in. Ditto for the Rusacks (pronounced ROO-sax). Her group has gone to great lengths to maintain the character of the place, striving 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 hamburger joint open to the public, to the reservations-only rooftop restaurant 18 — named for golf holes, not Peyton’s jersey number — Rusacks is the place to be this week .

“Eighteen hole of the British Open, coming here with my brothers and friends and watching it,” said Eli, “it’s unbeatable.” Manning brothers enjoy British Open from balcony overlooking 18th hole

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