Adam Scott and his fellow Aussie Bryden Macpherson are separated by a whopping 573 places on the world rankings. Poor old Macpherson must have like that was about the same number of shots he racked up during a torrid two days here at Hoylake.
In the end, the 23-year-old from Melbourne propped up the order with a 28-over tally of 170. Scott, the world No.1, must have looked like a little speck on the horizon at three under. Another major winner, the 1985 Open champion Sandy Lyle, was a little bit nearer, mind you. He was only four shots away on 166. In this game of numbers, Macpherson had more big figures than the Birkenhead branch of weightwatchers. Double-bogeys, triples, quadruples; it was the stuff of golfing nightmares . . . or an average day at the club medal for you and I. If Macpherson had been competing about 140 or so years ago, of course, his 90 and 80 would have had him right in at the sharp end of affairs. Back in those times of yore, before colour was invented and bearded men with faces like rocky outcrops spent a lot of time simply staring sternly, Tom Kidd edged to victory in the 1873 Open with a 91 and an 88.
He picked up the sizeable bounty of £11. Macpherson can at least console himself with a couple of thousand pounds. In terms of attitude, however, he deserves far, far more. As the ghouls pored over the debris of his grisly 90 on day one, it would have been easy for him to withdraw quietly and slip away to lick the wounds. Macpherson, who beat Troon's Michael Stewart in the final of the 2011 Amateur Championship just up the coast from here at Hillside, is made of sterner stuff. He didn't shy away from the macabre media requests as he spoke eloquently and reflectively about his eye-watering experience.
"If you don't enjoy it, then you shouldn't be playing it as a living," said Macpherson who had to wait until the 10th hole yesterday to make his one and only birdie.
In the 1997 Open at Troon, Macpherson's compatriot and former Open champion, Ian Baker-Finch, thrashed his way to a 92 and was hardly seen again on the golfing scene. Macpherson is not about to take such drastic action just yet. "That triggered his retirement," he added. "It would be a little weird for me to retire, I think. It's just character building, that's all it is. If you see it as anything more or less, then you're looking at it the wrong way."
Macpherson may have been looking up at the rest but his Hoylake horror show is not going to keep this gritty golfer down.