Michael Blair charts a nine-year search for a winning mentality...
The first time I met Steve Webster he was, I think, 14 years of age. I went to his home in Atherstone and he showed me into the family sitting room and it was already, by then, more of a trophy room.
There was a wall-to-wall glitter of captured silverware and it was obvious from our conversation then that what the coaching folk in Warwickshire had told me was true: here was a young man with a burning ambition to get on in the game and who possessed the talent to go with it.
It is a special pleasure for those backroom blokes who work as hard as they do to foster the game when they come across a gem and they had clearly uncovered one in Webster.
He duly made it into the Warwickshire side and if you asked some of the county stalwarts now to nominate their best player of, say, the last 25 years, quite a few would point down Atherstone way and opine that if he wasn't Paul Broadhurst, then it must be Webster.
I first watched him play against Staffordshire at Walmley and he was put against David Lynn, who towered above him by about a foot, it seemed, in the top singles. What a battle they fought.
The 14th hole at Walmley is a longish par-four and Webster won it with a two, holing his eight-iron second.
The 15th is also a par-four and Webster lost it to a two. Lynn drove the green.
Webster won a tight match in the end - I can't remember the score; 2&1 perhaps - and it wasn't more than a season or three before both these gifted young gladiators had left the amateur scene.
The last time I saw Webster play as an amateur - after he had beaten the region's best professionals in the Midland Open - was in the 1995 Open Championship at St Andrews and my best memory of that was standing with his father, Terry, at somewhere around the ninth, as Terry took a photograph of the first day leaderboard.
It had Webster (A), for amateur, on it in second place and although I haven't been back to that sitting room in Atherstone, I'd wager that the photograph, framed, is among the most prominent features on display.
Webster finished the Open tied 24th, beating Gordon Sherry, who was pretty hot in those days, and Tiger Woods to the amateur's medal and after that there wasn't much left to accomplish in the amateur game, although I'm sure there are those in Warwickshire who would have been thrilled to see him play Walker Cup.
Now it is held that Webster is (sorry, was) the best player on the European Tour never to win a tournament and I wrote that myself more than two years ago.
But if the final PGA Tour School isn't a tournament, more so than any other on the calendar considering that it's six rounds of sheer hell at San Roque in Spain, then I don't know what is.
And at his first attempt, against a horde of experienced pros who were playing, literally, for their careers, he won the School. It was a staggering achievement. He had secured his Tour card at his first attempt and we thought we were looking at a meteor.
Then he started out on his first season as a fully-fledged tournament pro in 1996 and he promptly missed his first nine cuts.
So it was back to San Roque and he could only ( only?) finish fourth this time. But he hasn't been back since.
In 1997, Webster finished 63rd in the Order of Merit. Then he was 37th with three top five finishes and he has been a steady earner ever since.
But steady wasn't quite the intended picture. His pedigree demanded rather more than that but as he used to say in his early seasons, he was playing for good positions, he was playing to make cuts and he didn't want to put too much pressure on himself with thoughts of actually winning something.
And so he didn't and among the theories on the subject of why it took him until last Sunday (nine years and 247 attempts) to win a tournament, mine is that Webster invested himself with far too many negative thoughts early on and carried them with him through the years.
Young players like Paul Casey and Graeme McDowell came on the scene and started winning straight away. To win things, you have to think winning and by now Webster, scandalously, had settled into a role that was approaching that of a journeyman pro.
He had big moments, was respected for his talents and five times he finished in second place. But he couldn't win and the reason he couldn't win was that he didn't have the mindset. And he could pick up hundreds of thousands of pounds a season by playing in his private zone.
A cheery chap, well liked by all his peers, he rarely gave the impression of being worried by anything much and the point of this observation is that he should have been worried, worried enough to get his game out of neutral. He needed a bit more Faldo in his soul.
Which is an historical summary that is now just that - history. Webster won the Italian Open and for those who are curmudgeonly enough to suggest that there couldn't have been that much pressure from a very ordinary field, with the likes of Richard Finch and Bradley Dredge in his rear view mirror, let it be said that no one, not even Tiger Woods, can do more than beat the field as it is assembled.
This is the way to appraise Webster's victory. He never had a single round that was worse than a 68 and when it came to the stretch, the hot point, he covered his last nine holes in 32 and won the game by three strokes.
That is style. That is what all those people in Warwickshire were thinking of all those years ago. And dare we say it? That is what they'll be looking for when Webster tees of in the British Masters at the Forest of Arden today.
That really would be a big one to win and perhaps after last weekend the thought will have occurred to him that he should try that little bit harder to do just that.