There are, controversially, so few Open Championship places available through the final qualifying stages these days that many professionals don't bother to try to get one.
The amateurs are undeterred, though. Of the 12 places on offer at this year?s four qualifiers at Ladybank, Leven Links, Lundin and Scotscraig five were claimed by amateurs. Rob Steele, of Kenilworth, was one of them.
He joined an Italian amateur, Edoardo Molinari, as one of the three to progress from Ladybank and he had rounds of 67,69 to his credit.
Steele is particularly proud of the fact that his first Open will coincide with Jack Nick-laus ? s last.
?That?s very special,? he said. No chance of him being drawn to play with Nick-laus, of course. Or with anyone from the game?s loftier reaches.
The draw is not really a draw at all, not in the true sense; it?s an assembly of blocs of superior persons and only in the third round does chance come into it.
Young Steele will go out on Thursday in the company of Daniel Chopra, of Sweden and Bo van Pelt of the United States. He is out fifth from last at 15.37pm and there might not be too big a gallery on watch when he comes up the 18th as dusk approaches.
Not that this fact will detract one iota from Steele?s enjoyment of the day. To play in the Open?s the thing. When and with whom is totally irrelevant.
Peter Baker, in the year that he lost his card, fought his way into the tournament the hard way and for his pains will go out with the prominent American, Rich Beem and the Scottish amateur, Lloyd Saltman.
Robert Rock?s companions on Thursday and Friday will be an American, Tim Petrovic and an Australian, Richard Green. Rock has been known to respond to the big stage and we could well be wondering who it is he plays with on Saturday.
Steve Webster played his first Open at St Andrews ten years ago, he was on the leaderboard on the first day and he finished up as leading amateur. He takes the field this week as a fully-fledged winner on the European Tour and a prospective member of Europe?s next Ryder Cup team. This is a huge chance for the Atherstone golfer and there?s real class in his three-ball which is completed by the Australian left-hander, Nick O?Hern and the American, Joe Ogilvie.
Droitwich?s John Bickerton plays with the colourful Duffy Waldorf, of America and the little known Australian, Scott Hend.
Nicklaus goes out with Tom Watson in a first-day pairing boasting eight Open Championships between them? Let?s hope that the third member of the party, Luke Donald, is not drowned in a flood of affection and sentimentality.
The plum alliances include Retief Goosen, Lee Westwood and the holder, Todd Hamilton. Tiger Woods has Jose Maria Olazabal and Robert Allenby for company and the Scots have a Colin Montgomerie-Paul Lawrie link-up to savour.
* World No 9 Padraig Harrington may withdraw from the Open after his father died last night following a battle with cancer of the oesophagus. Swede Henrik Stenson, 79th on last week?s world rankings, would be the player to replace Harrington if he does pull out.