The sartorial statement was certainly bold. The golfing statement of intent, meanwhile, was just as robust. The azalea-splattered shirt that Viktor Hovland sported on day one of the 87th Masters made the Norwegian look like he’d just fallen into the spring bedding plants display at a Dobbies Garden Centre. What a display he put on at Augusta National though. His seven-under 65 was something of a prize bloom.

Not to be outdone, though, Jon Rahm came barging up the order with a 65 of his own in his push to be best in show. It would’ve been tricky to say what was more colourful. Hovland’s shirt or the cursing language Rahm must have been tempted to unleash after starting his Augusta assault with a four-putt double-bogey on the first.

Lesser golfers may have wilted after such a morale-sapping start but Rahm embarked on the kind of mighty recovery usually reserved for an operation in marine salvage and played his remaining 17 holes in nine-under. It was a tremendous effort from the world no.3 as his bid for a second major title went from the stuttering to the spectacular.

The repair job was immediate. After scribbling that six down on his card at the first, Rahm reeled off back-to-back birdies at the second and third to get back to level-par. Another birdie on the seventh was followed by a cracking second shot into the par-5 eighth which trundled to within five-feet and spawned an eagle. Rahm upped the ante coming home and four birdies over his closing six holes completed a rousing comeback. “I was a lot less frustrated than people may have thought,” admitted Rahm about that four-putt. “Sometimes it happens.

If you’re going to make a double or four-putt or anything, it might as well be on the first hole” Keeping the heid paid off handsomely for Rahm as he posted his lowest round in seven appearances at the Masters.

As for Hovland? Well, he gave an admiring nod to his colleague at the top of the order when he heard about Rahm’s guddle on the opening hole. “Is that what he did?,” said the 25-year when told that his title rival had made a quartet of stabs with the flat stick. “That’s pretty impressive… not the four-putt but the remaining golf after that.”

The Herald: Jon Rahm shakes hands with his playing partner and caddiesJon Rahm shakes hands with his playing partner and caddies (Image: Getty)

Hovland has pieced together a decent body of work so far this season with five top-20 finishes in seven starts and he burst out of the traps yesterday with an eagle on the par-5 second hole after a mammoth tee-shot that was just about as long as Washington Road. He then packed five birdies into eight holes from the sixth to lay down a sturdy marker.

There were a few hairy moments coming in but his short game, which has often been Hovland’s Achilles’ heel, got him out of bother. “I don’t care how good you hit it out here, you have to chip the ball well,” said Hovland. “You have to have a short game, especially on that back nine when I hit a lot of bad shots, to be honest. But I managed to keep myself in it by hitting some really nice chips and making some really nice putts.”

And what about the choice of attire? “I had nothing to do with it,” he added with a chuckle. “I just wear what they tell me to wear. It’s definitely a little bit out there, but I think I’d rather take these than the pink pants I had last year. So, we’re making progress.”

Brooks Koepka was certainly making good progress as the four-time major winner, and LIV defector, manoeuvred himself into a share of the lead with a fine 65. This LIV rebel certainly has a cause.

Tiger Woods, with five green jackets in his wardrobe, had to settle for a two-over start while another past master, Sandy Lyle, saw his swansong turn into more of a warbling lament as he posted an 81.

The 65-year-old Scot, making his 42nd and final Augusta appearance, pushed his opening tee-shot into the trees. “Oh rubbish,” he groaned as it drifted into the foliage. He had to play out left-handed and actually snapped his club when he clattered a trunk.

“It wasn’t even over my knee,” he said with a wry chortle. “It’s the first club I’ve broken here … and it’s taken me 40 years to do it.”

It’s a daft auld game.