It’s been 22 years since Greg Norman won his first Open Championship and 15 since his last. Littered in between his wins at Turnberry in 1986 and Royal St George’s in ’93 were countless near misses and it does little justice to a player of his standing that he should sit here today with just a brace of Majors to his name.

As great as Norman was, it was perhaps always perceived that his inability to rack up more wins in the biggest contests came down to his own self-destruction. Many questioned his mental approach, others his baffling shot selection.

But during today’s opening round of the 137th Open Championship, the galleries that flocked to watch the Great White Shark were treated to a superb display of focused golf, combined with determined course management.

At 53, Norman still strikes a fine golf ball. Out-driving on occasion his playing partners Woody Austin and Robert Karlsson, the Australian’s swing is as glorious to watch as it was in his heyday, while his deft touches around the green kept him in contention with a run of nine consecutive pars from the 4th to the 12th.

But what was most impressive about the former champion’s game was his demeanour and warm nature. He was relaxed throughout, sticking to his game plan and enjoying his day for what it was. While I find it unlikely that the former world number one will be playing a lead role in the season’s third major come Sunday, it is still wonderful to see Norman back competing – and competing at his best.

One moment summed up the great man’s round for me today. On the ninth green, just seconds after the Aussie had rolled in yet another par putt, he whispered a few words to his caddie as he passed him his ball. The caddy then approached one of the female scorers, and handed her the ball. ‘It was a present, to keep me going,” she told me afterwards.

Still a smoothie then. Nice touch!