England's Steve Webster is hoping a stern talking to and short-game lesson from Seve Ballesteros will inspire him to defend his Italian Open title this week.
Webster finally ended a ten-year wait for his maiden European Tour title at Castello di Tolcinasco last year, after five second-place finishes since turning professional in 1995.
However, the 31-year-old from Atherstone failed to build on that success during the remainder of the season, with his fifth place a week later at the British Masters the only subsequent top-ten finish he managed.
The former Open championship silver medallist has also failed to record a high finish in his eight events so far this season, but is in confident mood after receiving some advice from five-time major winner Ballesteros at last week's Spanish Open.
"He told me I was good enough to contend, even in the majors, so I know I have to get my head down and try to win a couple of times in Europe and get into the top 50 in the world," said Webster.
"I know I should be there but you have got to do it - end of story.
"I'm a little disappointed that I have not kicked on since winning here last year. I played really well the following week in the British Masters and I think I should have won there.
"I have had a lot of top-20 finishes but I have to convert them into top fives and top 10s so I am in contention to win.
"I have had a load of practice rounds with Seve and he has always taken note of my career. He was telling me that I should be doing a lot better in my career, which I totally agree with, and giving me some tips.
"I started getting to know him when we played together in South Africa a few years ago. I'm a lucky lad really. He is different class. As soon as you pitch up to play with him you can feel his presence. He won 90-odd tournaments and he was telling me last week about one of his Open championship wins when he was in 15 bunkers and got up and down out of 14 of them.
"He was showing me some of those shots last week and the man is a genius.
"Seve has given me a bit of confidence with my short game.
"He was just showing me a few techniques which will help because he is probably still one of the best in the world when it comes to the short game and I was picking his brain really.
"Any bit of information he can give you is amazing."
The Midlands is well represented in Milan, with Peter Baker, of Wolverhampton, Birmingham's Tom Whitehouse and Webster's fellow Atherstonian Paul Broadhurst also in the field.
Droitwich's John Bickerton and fellow Midlanders Robert Rock and Sam Walker are also chancing their arm with Bickerton and Broadhurst sharing a three-ball with Ian Woosnam of today's opening round.
Ryder Cup captain Woosnam will run the rule over Broadhurst as one of his possible European team.
The former Masters champion has been paired with the Portuguese Open winner, who currently occupies eighth place in the standings.
Argentina's Angel Cabrera is the only player in the world's top 50 competing at the Arnold Palmer-designed course on the outskirts of Milan, as he warms up for the defence of his BMW Championship at Wentworth later this month.