Welcome to the 145th Open Championship. Pitching up at Royal Troon yesterday was a bit like being ushered into Colin Montgomerie’s sitting room. “Thank you for being here and I’m just so glad as a local and almost as a host that everything is set up in a five star manner,” said this self-appointed laird of the manor as he sported the kind of gleaming beam not seen since the Bee Gees had a scale and polish.

Qualifying for this week’s Open Championship at the club where he started playing the game was good. Getting proceedings underway by clattering away the first tee shot at the crack of dawn on Thursday will make it even better. “This wasn’t drawn out of the hat,” added an extremely honoured Monty with a knowing chuckle. Now that Sky Television has its all singing, all dancing paws on the tussle for the Claret Jug, the opening drive at 6.35am will be broadcast live for the very first time. In that respect, and with no disrespect to some of the other competitors in the field, they couldn’t possibly have had someone like Callum Shinkwin performing such an illustrious duty. “Bus, train, flown in, ferried, is there any other form of transport?,” said a mischievous Montgomerie when asked how the adoring masses will get to Troon to gather in bowing reverence for an early morning ceremony which is usually as low key as a reference library. His playing partners, Luke Donald and Marc Leishman, will probably be down on bended knee.

There is a sizeable benefit to rising with the larks, of course. Competing alongside the powerful young guns and their heavy artillery is not going to be easy for a 53-year-old veteran of the golfing frontline but getting out and about in the early morning, when the wind is down, the greens are perfect and there’s nobody in front will suit Montgomerie to an absolute tee. As he was quick to remind everybody, Royal Troon’s abundant rigours and befuddling nuances cannot be overcome purely by brute force alone. “It’s the club’s motto, ‘Tam Arte Quam Arte’, as much by skill as by strength,” he said before checking that those in scribbling attendance were up to speed with their Latin. Some are a bit shaky on basic English. “As journalists and scholars you did know that … didn’t you? You’re all writing that down. C’mon, get that down. Look, I would have loved to have played my career where Dustin Johnson hits his drives, we all would, but you’ve got to be very, very careful at the same time. It’s not just a bomber’s course.”

There are plenty of big hitters manoeuvring themselves into position for an assault on a Royal Troon course which has been given a right good soaking by the summer rain and, according to Montgomerie, is only producing 10 to 15 yards in run when it would usually be trundling out to 40 yards. Prior to Monty holding court, Jason Day, the world No 1, was plonked before the media for a pre-tournament blether. A year ago, the Australian left St Andrews in a state of despair after missing out on a place in a three-way play-off by a single shot. He would go to win four of his next six events, including his first major in the US PGA Championship. “That (disappointment at St Andrews) was the start of a run where everything kind of changed my world,” said the 28-year-old.

In this game of ups, downs, twists and turns, you can’t win ‘em all and golf’s fickle fortunes visited Day just the other week when he leaked three shots on his last four holes to surrender the WGC Bridgestone Invitational to the in-form Dustin Johnson.

Having held the global game in a fearsome double nelson during his pomp, Tiger Woods’s shadow still looms large over the new generation. Woods may still be out injured with that gammy back, but he was, and still is, the man that Day aspires too.

“Losing the other week sucked, I hated losing,” said Day. “But that’s just the way of life. I’ve always said it that we’ve been spoiled by Tiger Woods and how he dominated very much through the years. That’s what I’m shooting for, to be able to finish off events like he did back in the day. When I talk to him, it's about how mentally tough he was. When he didn't have his best stuff, he would just find a way to get it done. His game plan was, 'I just got to get this ball in the hole'. Will I ever get to a point like that? Maybe not. But that’s what I’m shooting for right now.”

In a couple of days time, Day will get shooting at Troon, After Monty, of course.