At Wentworth, as Ernie Els wins it nearly every year, noone else can really be said to have put a mark on recent World Matchplay Championships. Retief Goosen's imprint, for instance, is barely discernible.
In five appearances he has never been beyond the second round and even Sam Torrance beat him the other year.
But is the South African's rich strokeplay form carrying over to the head-to-head stuff, they were wondering at Wentworth yesterday?
There are those (not to be found in the North-east, let it be said), who might have suggested that Ken Ferrie, yesterday's first-round opponent, did not offer the stiffest of challenges.
As it turned out, he didn't. Ferrie did not play badly and was, in fact, a shot below par after the morning round. But not playing badly was extremely dim praise in the context of what was required to face up to Goosen.
After racing round in 66, Goosen was four up at lunch. He had fired eight birdies and mainly par golf thereafter was enough to sew up the match by 8&7.
Embellishing that birdie count were the three twos he claimed at the second, tenth and 14th.
It's what successful matchplay golf is all about: making birdies. And you must never lose a hole to par.
Actually, Goosen lost the first hole of the day to a par. He missed the green with a five-iron and couldn't get his wedge shot close enough to save himself.
One down after one, he was then one up after three and, despite Ferrie's eagle at the fourth, he was away.
He grabbed a fourth two at the 28th, claimed his eleventh birdie of the day with an 18ft putt at the next and the pair shook hands.
Having won in China and then in Germany in the last two weeks, could he make it three consecutive victories?
"Too early to think like that," he replied. "That was only the first round; there's still a long way to go."
Goosen won't even think of himself as favourite. Yesterday's performance was mainly down to his putting, he revealed.
"I holed a lot of good, long putts."
Two of them were 30-footers, there had been three of 25ft and innumerable tenfooters. But still his driving bothered him.
"I'm struggling there," he said, "I seem to be trying something with every shot but I think I've found some answers: it's about finding a comfortable position at the top and tomorrow it's going to be about trusting what I'm trying to do."
"He always seemed to have a putt for the hole," said a rueful Ferrie. "As good a putter as he is is always going to hole a few and today he holed more than his fair share."
But hadn't this been a good experience?
"When you've been beaten 8&7, it's hard to say that it's a good experience. But I will learn from it."
The day's other big winner was Luke Donald who saw off his old Ryder Cup captain, Bernhard Langer, by 7&6.
Almost a hollow victory, this. Langer made a wretched start, bogeying three of the first six holes, and although he came home in 34 he was three down at lunch. Meticulous, on this occasion, the German was not. He started the afternoon round with two more bogeys and altogether lost five holes to pars.
It was ruinous and he was candid enough to admit: "the first nine or ten holes was some of the worse golf I have played. It was just horrible. I got myself into a deep hole and I couldn't get out."
Donald, with only one bogey, said, simply: "I didn't do much wrong."
Quite a lot of the golf lived down to the expectations of this weakened field. Tim Clark was round in 73 in the morning and rarely challenged Steve Elkington before subsiding to a 6&5 defeat. Elkington had led at lunch despite putting three bogeys and a double bogey into his first round.