Top Scot hasn’t counted for that much on the European tour in recent seasons.
But it is becoming an encouragingly relevant title, with the Dunhill Links shaping up to be another championship that points to a brighter future.
Robert MacIntyre’s emergence over the last few months has been a wonderful story but, even though yesterday wasn’t one of his better days on tour, there were plenty of other Scottish professionals occupying promising positions on the day one leaderboard.
Highest was Richie Ramsay, whose seven-under par round at Kingsbarns left him two off the lead.
“You always look at it and think: ‘If I want to win one tournament, the Scottish Open and the Dunhill are the two that are right there because I used come down here when I was seven or eight and watch the guys play in the Dunhill Cup,” he said.
“I’ve just got to keep chasing more birdies tomorrow at St Andrews because I want to get in the mix on Sunday. Back nine and Old Course St Andrews, back nine Sunday, those ingredients are just too good. That would be a dream to be there and have a chance to win.”
Kinross’s Callum Hill also found the Kingsbarns course to his liking. He was just a shot back of Ramsay on six under. There were six birdies and an eagle for the number one-ranked Challenge Tour player.
Given he has previously said he felt like a 15-handicapper when he teed it up at the Old Course, a six-under 66 for Russell Knox was impressive scoring.
“It is definitely getting better,” he said. “I holed a birdie putt from 20 feet at the first and that was nice. You are like, ‘oh, there is a hole there this week’.
“The front nine I played very well and kept it going on the back. I had two bogeys on 16 and 17, but I didn’t hit one bad shot. To finish with a birdie is always good and six-under is a strong start.
“It was a day to attack and, fortunately, I was able to do that.”
Knox is more used to coming home to play golf in the middle of the summer but hasn’t enjoyed a great deal of success in Scotland. The Florida-based golfer has given himself a platform to change that.
“This was an important round for me,” he said. “I’ve been desperate to get some momentum going.”
Euan Walker, in just his second tournament since turning professional, was another Scot getting off to a fast start at St Andrews.
If playing golf for money is supposed to pile the pressure on, nobody has told the young man from Troon who a few weeks ago was playing in the Walker Cup.
“I’m just trying my best,” he said. “It’s still the same isn’t it? It’s just golf, especially today out on the Old Course, a place I’ve played a lot.
“The golf course is exactly the same as we played it in the Links Trophy and, in fact, the pins are probably more accessible here. It should actually be easier than it is in the Links Trophy, a tournament I played five times and had a decent amount of success in.
“The environment is slightly different, with crowds and stuff, but it was just like a normal day.
“I’ve not proven that I can play at this level yet but within myself I have grown in confidence. I believe in my ability, and compared to other guys on tour, if I bring my best game or close to my best game then I can be good enough to rival them in some ways.
“I don’t think people expect you win right away. I wasn’t winning every week in amateur golf so why would I be doing that in professional golf?
The highlight of his round?
“Probably holing for birdie on the last,” said Walker. “I’d gone through a bit of a rough patch on the back nine. To finish with a couple of nice putts for par and then birdie 18 was really satisfying.
“It was looking like I might only finish about one under. Four under is a big difference.”
David Law was four under, Scott Jamieson and Liam Johnston three under, Stephen Gallacher two under, MacIntyre one under, Grant Forrest level and David Drysdale three over.
As well as the born and bred Scots, there were good rounds for honorary ones. Matthew Southgate, a regular visitor to Carnoustie, posted a 65 there, while Frenchman Victor Perez, who lives in Dundee with his dental student girlfriend, is one behind tournament leader Justin Walters on eight under par (St Andrews).