IF you have ever played golf with Clint Eastwood – and I appreciate that is a pretty preposterous opening gambit – one assumes you were tempted to mutter a line from Dirty Harry as you totted up your scorecards and clarified what he took on the fourth. “I know what you’re thinking, did he fire six shots or only five?”

Well, Paul O’Hara did play golf with the bold Clint the other week but the Scot could have recited the entire script of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and it still would not have registered with the ageing Hollywood great.

“He told one of the others in the group that I was a really good player… but he just couldn’t understand a word I was saying,” chuckled O’Hara of this communication breakdown.

The unlikely golfing alliance between a Tartan Tour regular and a 92-year-old legend of the big screen was all part of O’Hara’s American dream last week. In the build-up to his PGA Tour debut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, O’Hara partnered Eastwood in a charity par-3 contest. Once the tournament itself got going, the Motherwell man acquitted himself superbly.

The 35-year-old made the 54-hole cut, played with three-time Major champion Jordan Spieth on the final day and earned, well, a fistful of dollars. And if we shoehorn anymore ropey cinematic references into this piece, we’ll have to start paying royalties to the Eastwood estate.

As in various walks of life, it does not matter what you know, it is who you know. That was certainly the case for O’Hara as he earned an invitation to Pebble Beach through American property tycoon and AT&T Pro-Am regular, Pat Hamill.

“I’ve played with him in the Carnegie Invitational at Skibo Castle over the last couple of years,” explained O’Hara. “I’d shot nine-under in his company last September and he thought that was unbelievable and said, ‘I’ll try to get you into the AT&T’. I never heard much else after that, though. But the reason I hadn’t was that Pat had been in a terrible car crash. He was lucky to survive. Once he’d recovered, he messaged me to say I’d got in.”

At that point, in the dour depths of a Scottish winter, O’Hara was in golfing hibernation. His last competitive event was in October and the golf he had played since then was off mats. With California calling, the Lochview Family Golf Centre in Coatbridge became the site of fevered industry.

“Six days before I flew out, I was just hammering as many balls as I could to get back into it,” said the former Scottish PGA champion. He may have been as rusty as the wheel arches of a British Leyland motor but O’Hara got up to speed quickly on US soil, battled through the first three rounds and savoured a delayed final round with the aforementioned Spieth.

“It was a massive leap in standard,” said O’Hara, who would pick up a tidy cheque for over $17,500. “Playing alongside Jordan was an eye-opener. His short game is phenomenal and his scrambling ability and touch is frightening. It was a real education. But I didn’t feel out of my depth.”

It is 13 years now since O’Hara made the leap into the pro ranks. He chiselled away at the coalface and did have some success on the third rung of the European ladder but he opted to step back, do his PGA training and compete predominantly on the Tartan Tour.

Since then, he has become a prolific winner both domestically and on the wider PGA scene. Professionally and personally, it has been a sound career decision.

“The travelling wore me down and I prefer playing at home,” he said of the wearying effects of bouncing around the developmental circuits. “The Tartan Tour has been great for my game. Winning at any level breeds confidence. It makes you feel good about yourself. When you’re struggling it’s the complete opposite. I know lots of players who were lost to golf after trying to get on the tour. They were really good players but just couldn’t keep bashing on the door. It’s a tough school and such a hard sport to survive in.”

After his early season tonic in the US, O’Hara’s next target is April’s PGA play-offs, where a number of potentially lucrative DP World Tour starts will be up for grabs.

“To get them would be massive,” he said of this chance to earn, ahem, a few dollars more. Sorry, Clint.