FOR all that he sounds like one of ours, Zane Scotland is not a Scot, his father hailing from the Dominican Republic and his mother from Northern Ireland. All the same, one would like to know how he came by that surname.

Not 17 until Saturday, Zane - whose aunt Baroness of Asthal, was the first black QC - is older than was Sandy Lyle when he played his way into the 1974 Open. However, it was not until 1977 that regional qualifying, which had been tried out in 1926, was re-introduced.

Thus Scotland who has a plus two handicap, is the youngest

to have made it into the Open having had to come through both the regional qualifying and the final qualifying.

''Big hands and a good grip'' noted, approvingly, England's Michael Lunt. Admittedly, as Jack Nicklaus has amply demonstrated, large paws are not essential for great golf but traditionally, down the years, they have been seen as a help.

When Zane was 11, his father booked him six lessons with Peter Rees, the professional at the Oaks Sports Centre, near Sutton. After the first of the six, Zane asked if it would be all right if he turned up the next week at the same time.

''No,'' exclaimed Rees, and many will greatly admire him for being at once big enough and shrewd enough to know when to leave well alone. ''That would be the worst thing you could do. You would be much, much better just to carry on as you have been doing.''

It was a story which whisked me back a year almost to the day. In 1998, on the Monday of Open Championship week, I was at Carden Park, near Chester, for the opening of the new Jack Nicklaus course when my eye alighted on Martin Thomas, a seven-year-old boy who, it transpired, had just gone round the nine-hole par three Azalea course in 27.

Like many before him, young Thomas had learned his swing by imitation, only in his case - a sign of the times - the model in question had been part of a computer game.

The only thing the club professional had felt constrained to tell him was to hold his hands a little lower. Shades of the aforesaid Peter Rees. Thomas, as it happened, played left-handed. Was he a natural southpaw? ''Yes,'' he nodded, ''but . . .''

He left the sentence hanging in the air but, having changed clubs, he stood on the other side of the ball and, right handed, smacked

it down the practice ground puritanically straight and, at least to the open-mouthed adults, an indecent distance.

The keep-fit fanatic with whom I had witnessed the whole business was, by his own account, the archetypal dedicated golfer and hitherto the proud owner of a single-figure handicap. Alas, when I turned to seek a second opinion, that

badly-shaken, lifetime teetotaller was already half way to the bar.

q AT Carnoustie, in the Open of 1953, Harry Andrew was assigned by his paper to ghost Ben Hogan's column. A keen golfer, Harry was delighted but Hogan's reputation as a demanding perfectionist, being what it was, it was still with some trepidation that he sought him out in his Open Championship quarters.

Hogan, with others in the room, did not at once give him his full attention but he did casually toss him an eight iron. ''What do you think of that?'' he inquired.

Harry, the golfer in him taking over, took hold of the club with his usual grip and waggled it for a moment or too before setting the club face to an imaginary ball.

''Very nice'' he observed,

handing the club back and real-ising, even as he did so, that Hogan had been testing him

to see if he knew one end

of a golf club from the other.

q BOBBY Jones took the club away very much on the inside and came down outside his backswing, but still inside the line.

So, too, did Sandy Lyle when he won the 1985 Open at Royal St George's though his swing was otherwise very different from Jones' and much shorter.

Lyle, who changed the route of his swing long ago, now has a pause in his action which would surely have much interested his comp-atriot, Tommy Armour, who won the 1931 Open at Carnoustie and who was a leading advocate of such a momentary drawing of the bead.

Macdonald Smith, Cary Middle-coff, Bunty Stephens and England's Gordon Brand, to name but four, all had a pronounced hiatus. But, for most of those who have had such a pause, it has been a completely natural thing.

Australia's Wayne Grady, on the other hand, deliberately built in his pause after reading an article by Gary Player but the last time I heard Grady on the subject, he was trying to rid himself of it.

Nevertheless, it was still very much a feature when, at Shoal Creek in 1990, he enjoyed his finest hour, winning the US PGA Championship.

Middlecoff, a fine player but a golfing snail of whom an exasperated reporter once wrote: ''If he spotted a dewdrop on a blade of grass in line with his ball and the cup, he'd wait for the sun to come out and dry it up'' loved his pause.

It gave him time, he averred, ''to correct or improve an incipiently wrong swing''. Others, though, were much less enamoured of it, a fellow American protesting caustically at St Andrews in 1957: ''Hell, he's slow enough already without taking time out at the top of every backswing.''