Woods ready to light up Turnberry
It is hard to know which was the rarer sight, Tiger Woods' pearly whites or the driver in his hands. It was a largely unsmiling, poker-faced world number one who was plotting his way during his Turnberry dawn patrol.
Just a handful of spectators were following, but his personal bodyguards and the police were in attendance, as Woods began his early morning recce. It was his second round at the South Ayrshire course having teed off when he arrived on Sunday.
It was head down, hands in pockets, straight-faced stuff. Time to work, but not necessarily grind - this was all about getting a feel for the course.
The driver was used sparingly. On the par 5 seventh (it's really a par 4 ¼ unless the wind switches dramatically) Woods tugged his drive left and Stevie was left with a search on his hands.
We didn't see the big stick again until the last two holes. Until then it was a mixture of long irons and low "stinger" three woods which found fairway after fairway. It was impressive stuff as were the iron approaches that didn't lack for distance control or accuracy.
The drives off the 17th and 18th tees were into the wind and Woods needed a three wood to get home on the par-five penultimate hole. His tee-shot at the last looked as though he'd choked down the shaft and it was judged to perfection as he hit to the corner.
So plenty of reasons to be cheerful for the three-time champion but there was precious little engagement between Woods and his early-bird army of spectators.
For one intrepid couple there was the promise of an autograph at the end of his round and there was a muttered "thank you" to the small boy who quite rightly gave Woods a "good shot" for the delightfully drawn three-wood off the eighth tee.
On the greens it was all about feel. He largely putted using just his right hand hitting to likely pin positions.
Most significantly Woods looks like he is right where he wants to be with his game ahead of his first Open in two years. So much so, swing coach Hank Haney is at home in America. Job done.
Woods, who tees off with Lee Westwood on Thursday, told the Golf Channel afterwards that the course is tougher than a lot of people are making out and that will certainly be the case if the wind blows.
The fairways are tight but definitely fair and the first cut of rough shouldn't be of too much concern to the players this week. But any further off line and there's big trouble.
This is where the rough is thick and claggy and the spectator ropes are set back far enough for it to become a factor on several holes, particularly to the right of the approach to the 17th.
George Brown and his greens staff should be congratulated on the state of the course which is outstanding. It is a truly gorgeous setting and the immaculate conditioning is entirely in keeping with the spectacular views afforded by the South Ayrshire hills, the famous lighthouse, Ailsa Craig and Arran.
But, of course, for the players it's now about conditioning their game, trusting their swing to be able to go out and just play golf, hitting the shots they need at the appropriate time.
That's the aim for defending champion Padraig Harrington, who had his full entourage around him on the range. Bob Torrance had travelled south from Largs while mind-man Bob Rotella was also in attendance.
I'm told his short game was as sharp as a tack as he won the Irish PGA on Saturday, but Harrington has yet to find much consistency in his long game. It needs to happen quickly for there to be any chance of a hat-trick of titles.
One witness at the European Club said: "Avoiding a sixth missed cut in a row is a more realistic target in the short-term - then he can think about challenging."
By contrast Martin Kaymer was here fresh from his back-to-back wins and so brimful of confidence. And spare ribs.
The German didn't alter his eating habits out of superstition at Loch Lomond and one wonders whether Ayrshire supplies of ribs will be seriously depleted this week.
Interestingly the Scottish and French Open winner chose to play his opening practice round at Turnberry with Sir Nick Faldo, with whom he struck a good relationship as a non-playing invitee to the European Ryder Cup team at Valhalla.
The idea is to have a day away from the Open circus before returning to apply the finishing touches to their preparations.
As for the likely winner, I feel the weather is the crucial factor. If wind and rain sweep in the Championship may be blown wide Open.
But if conditions remain as benign as they are now, I believe it will take something very special to stop Woods from claiming his fourth Open. That would certainly bring a smile to his face and fully justify his early morning alarm calls.