Where have all the Scots gone?
The latest golf world rankings make grim reading for Scottish golf fans. For the first time since the standings were introduced in 1986, there is no-one from the home of golf in the world's top 100.
So, it's not all doom and gloom, and this is a story littered with anomalies. For a start we should not read too much into Scotland's status as World Cup holders.
Yes, the victory enjoyed by Marc Warren and Montgomerie in China last year was a magnificent performance (particularly from Warren) but golf's World Cup is nothing like competitions that bear such an exalted title in other sports.
The Scots were just the best of a decent bunch that week, not the best of the best in the world.
Scotland's victory in the Eisenhower in Adelaide a fortnight ago is of more significance. The Scottish team beat the US by nine strokes and Callum Macaulay finished second in the individual event with Wallace Booth in fourth spot.
Both are considered bright prospects and Gavin Dear also played a key role in the Scots first ever win in this event. They offer hope for the future, but then again so did Lloyd Saltman for his heroics in winning the 2005 Open Silver Medal at St Andrews.
The winner of 36 amateur titles has yet to make an impact in the pro ranks and it has also been a struggle for 2006 US amateur champion Richie Ramsay.
But Aberdeen's Ramsay is now making significant progress. Twice a winner on the European Challenge Tour he has banked 106,655 euros to finish seventh in the end of season rankings of one the toughest schools in golf.
Steven O'Hara was just one place behind and both earn category 10 status for the main tour next year, guaranteeing both starts for pretty much the entire season. They can embark upon it full of confidence.
But here is another anomaly that's worth considering in the context of this story. Ramsay is ranked 152nd in the world, fully 93 places above another Scot, Martin Laird, who could arguably claim to be the country's player of the year.
The Glaswegian graduate of Colorado State University enjoyed an August purple patch that brought two fourth-place finishes on the PGA Tour. He has made 18 cuts in 27 events and has banked more than $775,855.
It's a hefty pay cheque in most circles, but on the biggest golf tour in the world it is still not quite enough to guarantee playing privileges for next year. Laird needs one more good finish to move from 128th on the money list into the all important top 125.
Should he manage it he would secure his PGA Tour status for next year and provide another reason for Scottish optimism.
Forsyth, Stephen Gallacher, Paul Lawrie and Gary Orr all enjoyed good spells on the European Tour this year and Warren is showing signs of resurgence, but all need to harness more consistency.
It is worth remembering that it is not so long ago that the upper echelons of the world rankings were bereft of English talent. Now there are five Englishmen in the top 50.
Irish golf has enjoyed a stellar year at every level of the game in 2009. This is reflected in the fact that there are a record seven Irishmen in the elite field at Valderrama and the country has celebrated eight wins on Tour this year.
Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington was asked about this phenomenon, but was at a loss to explain his country's extraordinary levels of success. "Obviously we've had wins on tour, numerous wins on the Euro Pro Tour, the winner of the Order of Merit on the Euro Pro Tour (Noel Fox) as well, so we've had a very strong year right down the ranks.
"If I had the answer, I would have been able to answer the question three years ago, why we had not won a single tournament that year and why we only had one or two players at the Volvo Masters.
"I didn't have the answer then, so I don't have the answer now. It's swings and roundabouts."
So, on that basis perhaps Scottish swings have been a tad out of synch, but there are enough quirks in the ranking system and enough promise in the pipeline to suggest that maybe there will be a roundabout turn in fortunes.
The home of golf should not yet despair, the state of golf in the country that gave the game to the world is not quite as parlous as the rankings suggest.