Before old Sandy Lyle sought to take leave of his senses the other day - momentarily misplacing his mental golf equipment by dredging up the past and an incident involving Colin Montgomerie - Monty, the European Ryder Cup captain, had been airing his hopes of a more understated preparation for an Open in Scotland.
Lyle somewhat remarkably spouted off about "Montygate", his fellow Scot's ball-dropping fiasco in Jakarta four years ago and the connotations of "cheating" that accompanied it, promptly quashed such a prospect, but Montgomerie's cursed plan to go in "under the radar" resonates with the vast majority of the field, a 156 good men and true. The public hear from Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington, Monty, Ernie Els and anyone else who seems to have a vested interest in the week's happenings, but learning something new can be as difficult as discovering a ball emptied into the rough around Turnberry.
Louis Oosthuizen, the South African player, 26, began the year with as much speed as a Springbok. He seems to be a player on the rise. Paul Casey claimed the Abu Dhabi Championship, Alvaro Quiros the Qatar Masters and Rory McIlroy won the Dubai Desert Classic in the traditional start to the European Tour's year in the Middle East, but if there was a player of the "Desert Swing", it was surely Oosthuizen.
All he seemed to be doing around January was stuffing holes with birdies and his pockets with cheques. Oosthuizen was second in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, and seventh in Dubai. He won ?338,852 (Dh1.75m) in that period. Not bad for three weeks on the course. From Mottel Bay in South Africa, Oosthuizen - 20th in the Race to Dubai and 62nd in the world - was helped as a junior by the Ernie Els foundation. Els, Gary Player, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman are fine examples of South African major winners. Oozthuizen's first target is being around for the final two days.
"This is going to be my third Open. I haven't made the cut at one, but I am really looking forward to it," he said. "It is the biggest event of the year in our sport. "Links golf is a totally different game than the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond last week. I like having to play different types of shots, but I think today's players can play on any course. "I think this can be a great tournament, but that depends on how bad the weather is going to be."
The weather forecast expected to adorn Turnberry is a mixture of sunshine, showers and wind. It is typical Open weather. "I think everyone is preparing for some bad weather, but there are a number of players who should go well. You have Tiger who is just waiting for his next major after the knee surgery," said Oosthuizen. "If I was looking for someone else, I would be looking to Ross Fisher, who finished top five at the US Open, while Goosen has being going strongly over the past three or four weeks.
"It would be really nice to see a South African up there." Oosthuizen will try to replicate the stomach the Springboks displayed in defeating the British & Irish Lions in Rugby Union. "That is always a tough tour for everyone who plays in it. I think we got a bit luck and played well." firstname.lastname@example.org