"With this being the first Open at Troon since 2004, the younger stars of modern golf are unfamiliar with the course".
Those given the best chance of winning were sprinkled through the field behind him - Louis Oosthuizen at 8.36 a.m. local time, then Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry playing together half an hour later.
Rory McIlroy, among those who have withdrawn from the games, said Monday that golf needs to get tougher in its drug-testing procedures if it "wants to be seen as a mainstream sport". It was only when he was leaving the room that the 22-year-old Texan smiled and said to no one in particular, "Do we have a tournament this week?"
"I've received a lot of help from many different organisations within the game, and it doesn't take much to give back in certain ways, and I always try to do my fair share".
LONDON (AP) - The absence of numerous top men from the Olympic golf tournament in Rio de Janeiro will be taken into account in evaluating the sport's future in the games, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.
"I know Andy Murray has his tennis Grand Slams and his gold medal and I think he would put them in different columns but regard them both as huge achievements".
Jamie Spence, Team GB's golf leader, said: "Jack Nicklaus is my hero and he said he'd walk to Rio to play in the Olympics, and I feel the same way".
Day would have to finish outside the top 10 while Johnson won to lose the No1 spot, and that thought is enough to motivate the Australian, who was tied for fourth in golf's oldest Major past year at St Andrews.
History is on his side, even if it's more of a coincidence.
The wind was into his face on Saturday and Sunday on the easier opening holes, and the prevailing wind at his back returned the following three days.
Once you've discovered your favourite, you can follow all the action from Royal Troon live on the Sky Sports The Open channel, with the first shot teeing off on Thursday. The front nine typically is downwind and doesn't have a par 4 longer than 422 yards.
Masters champion Danny Willett's aggressive approach at the first failed to pay off as he drove to just short of the green but then three-putted for par. "But if you get it breezy, like in any Open venue, this place really shows its teeth". Along with taking on the goal of golf in the Olympics, he was annoyed by a newspaper headline that referenced the Fab Four and suggested he was close to becoming Ringo Starr, regarded as the least of four Beatles.
Johnson, who will play his first two rounds alongside Germany's Martin Kaymer and Scot Russell Knox, also has the incentive of trying to overtake Jason Day at the top of the rankings.
"The game is in a great state", said defending British Open champion Zach Johnson, one of only two players outside the Fab Four to win at the past eight major championships.
What the Fab Four has in common is all of them want a claret jug - and none are going to the Olympics, anyway.