JUST as young Scottish football fans tend to worship Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City players these days over our own home-produced talent, then so it is in golf. Perhaps to an even greater degree.

Where once it was Tiger Woods every young golfer dreamed of emulating, now they look up to Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy for inspiration, marvel at the goofball charms of Andrew “Beef” Johnston and savour the dashing panache of Sergio Garcia or the laconic strut of world number one Dustin Johnston. Scottish role models, in contrast, are noticeable solely by their absence in recent times.

Where tennis has undoubtedly benefited over the past decade by the success of the Murray brothers, there is no comparable figure emerging in Scottish golf where once Sandy Lyle, Sam Torrance and Colin Montgomerie were all household names.

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Only two Scots are currently in the top 100 of the world rankings, with Richie Knox at 48 and Martin Laird 89. Both have been based in the USA for quite some time now, Laird admitting after missing the cut this week at the Open at Royal Birkdale that he was eager to get back to the sunnier climes of his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Richie Ramsay is next in the list down in 169th place. Only golf fans would recognise any of the trio if they saw them in the street.

It is now 18 years since Paul Lawrie won the Open at Carnoustie and he remains the last Scot to triumph in a major championship. Montgomerie finished second to Woods in St Andrews in 2005 and since then it has been slim pickings in the Open, Stephen Gallacher’s 15th place finish at Hoylake in 2014 the best recent effort.

There was no serious Caledonian charge this year, either. Seven Scots – including the amateur Connor Syme – made it into the field but only two would survive the halfway cut.

Of that pair, Ramsay was unable to capitalise on a promising position after two rounds, following a level-par round of 70 with a two-over par 72, the highlight undoubtedly a holed bunker shot for eagle on 17.

That left him on level par for the tournament and, having at one point manoeuvred himself into a slot in the top five on the leaderboard, Ramsay eventually had to settle for a tie for 22nd place.

As well as bemoaning his own efforts over the final round, the Aberdonian also hinted – but wouldn’t expand on – wider issues behind the scene that are holding Scottish golf back.

“I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “I set high goals. I felt comfortable out there. But I just play a little bit too conservatively sometimes. The difference is you have to walk with a bit more of a strut. I’ve got to surround myself with as many positive people as possible. I think sometimes some negativity falls in there.

“It’s an old Scottish thing. There are a few other things that I think are major that hold us back as a nation and from progressing in general.

“I can hit it as straight as anybody off the tee and my ball striking can be really good but my game just needs to be way sharper. It’s as simple as that. It’s very small margins and that’s what I need to improve. The fact that I’m in Scotland probably doesn’t aid that and that’s something you’ve got to continually fight against.”

On his own performance, he added: “I played poorly today. I didn’t execute my shots well. The week was summed up by the last hole where I played a lovely tee shot and my second shot ran off the back of the green and then I didn’t get it in the hole from six feet.

“It was good but not good enough. But I’m sure that when I go away and reflect on it I’ll be a bit happier about it. It was great to play close to the last few groups on the weekend of a major.”

David Drysdale was the only other Scot to make it to the weekend having crept under the cut line. He would end up finishing on one-over par after an enterprising round of 66 on Saturday and then a closing score of 70 yesterday.

A 42 year-old with no European Tour win to his name, he hopes completing four rounds among elite company can kick-start something for him.

“I’ve been pretty steady from tee to green this year, just haven’t made any putts apart from in Ireland,” he said. “I’ve been quite consistent over the last few years now to be honest.

“I’ve played around 430 events now and I’d love to win a tournament. If I were to finish my career without winning on the European Tour I’d be annoyed.”

Drysdale, in fact, almost never made his final round at all. “I did something to my neck on the range this morning after hitting a couple of three-woods.

“I actually thought for three or four minutes I wouldn’t be going out. So it was alright. I just couldn’t turn through it but I managed to hobble around.

“I felt really comfortable this week and enjoyed the crowds. I really should be playing a few more of these types of events and hopefully I can in future.”