It was that golfing crooner Bing Crosby who warbled the lyrics, ‘Straight Down The Middle’. That’s easier said than done, Bing, in this infuriating game where a variety of clatters and batters usually end up well left of bloomin’ centre. Funnily enough, Crosby’s son, Nathaniel, played in the 1982 Open Championship at Royal Troon as the US Amateur champion but may have been heard croaking out one of his faither’s other numbers, ‘I’m an Old Cowhand’ as he thrashed his way to an 82 and an 84 to miss the cut by the length of the ranch fence.

Here in 2016, we wait to see who will be on song over these redoubtable old links as the 145th Open Championship finally gets underway. This will be a golfing X-factor, alright, but without the all the shrieking, wailing and howling. Well, unless Monty duck hooks the very first drive at 6.35am.

When it comes to the Open, this corner of Ayrshire may as well be draped in the stars and stripes. From Arnold Palmer’s win here in 1962, the American contingent have won six Claret Jugs in a row at Royal Troon. Will it be a magnificent seven this week? Only time will tell, of course, but the omens are certainly good.

All eyes are on Dustin Johnson. The binoculars might be needed too for some of those fearsome drives that take off with the kind of thunderous tumult that will almost require permission from the air traffic control at Prestwick.

His rip-roaring approach could certainly reap rich rewards. The opening six holes, starting with a trio of par-4s that are all under 400 yards, will certainly hold no fears for him length wise but they still require the accuracy to avoid the perilous greenside bunkers that lurk in wait. A lesson from history will embolden Johnson on a course where it’s often a case of scoring well going out and safeguarding that good work on a rigorous, potentially ruinous, return home. In the closing round of the 1989 Open, Greg Norman, another powerful, yet remarkably straight driver, made hay on the first six holes and played them in six-under on his way to a course-record 64. Some say that caution will be the watchword, but Johnson tends to hurl that caution to the wind. Marrying this prodigious length to a robust short game – he’s ranked No 1 on the PGA Tour for accuracy from 50-125 yards – Johnson is not too shabby with the putter either and it all adds up to an impressive, almost irresistible, armoury. Strength and skill. Royal Troon likes that. Even if the weather – which at the last official update was said to be “uncertain” – does turn on the boisterous side Johnson has shown that he doesn’t mind the meteorological mash-ups. His share of second at lively St George’s in 2011 – he should have possibly won – was evidence that he can be a man for all seasons.

There is, of course, plenty of firepower elsewhere and the artillery is being rolled into position with Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day all having the spotlights fixed on them as if they were bombers in an air raid. One man who will be more than happy to be operating somewhat under the radar is Adam Scott. Since the Open was last held here in 2004, the former Masters champion has missed the cut just once and in the last four championships he has finished 10th, fifth, third and second. It’s a mightily impressive body of work. Justin Rose, meanwhile, has been ensconced in Troon for a week getting to know the various nooks and crannies of the course while the wisely tipped Branden Grace, a canny links operator who has not missed a cut in his five Open appearance and has three top-fives in his last five majors will be fancying a good run at it. The last time a player from outside the US to win here at Troon was Grace’s celebrated compatriot Bobby Locke in 1950.

Major golf these days is almost like pin the tail on the donkey, of course. Andy Sullivan, a sturdy links campaigner in his amateur days and coming into Troon on the back of a sixth and fifth in the Scottish and French Opens respectively, could be one to keep an eye on and if you have a fancy for the old guard then 46-year-old Jim Furyk, an accurate, considered plotter over a course that is not all about length, could flourish again in a major having shared second in June’s US Open.

Some might say that only a fool would bet against Johnson. But then Todd Hamilton won as a 500-1 outsider at Royal Troon in 2004. In this befuddling game, predictions tend to be a fool’s errand.