The folks here have long been pining for someone to put the British back into the British Open.
Not since Scotland's Paul Lawrie in 1999 has a native son won the Open Championship, but even his compatriots admit that he was a one-hit wonder, seldom in contention again.
They want a worthy hero on the order of a Nick Faldo who ruled the waves for Britannia during the 1980s and 1990s. They're tired of saying goodbye to the Claret Jug as it jets off to one foreign country -- usually the United States -- after another.
At least for a day, there is hope. After the first round of the 2004 Open at Troon, a variety of British names populate the leaderboard, led by Paul Casey, who is tied for top spot with Frenchman Thomas Levet.
Casey and Levet each shot 66 yesterday, five under par. New Zealand's Michael Campbell is alone in third at 67, while Englishmen Gary Evans and Ken Ferrie, along with Scots Marten Wilson and Alastair Forsyth are among nine others another stroke behind. Even Colin Montgomerie is in the mix at two-under-par.
As far as the Brits are concerned, the best news is that there are no Americans in the top 12 at this point and only 15 in the top 56.
Mike Weir of Bright's Grove is in a large group at even par while Calgary's Stephen Ames had an off-day and is at three-over 74.
Pre-tournament favourite Ernie Els is in a comfortable spot at two-under 69, while Tiger Woods is at 70.
"I would love to win an Open for all the people here, but I have a long way to go and a lot of things to learn," Casey said. "I think I have a lot of potential and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
"I'm not saying I'm going to win dozens of majors but I feel like I can be around playing and competing in Open Championships for the next 10 or 20 years."
Evans made a big noise at the par-5 fourth hole yesterday when he holed his second shot, a 227-yard 5-iron for a double-eagle two.
Els was among the early risers yesterday and caught the best of the wind. Which is to say he had a light following breeze on the front nine and a neutral wind on the back.
"The conditions were perfect," Els said. "There was a slight breeze helping us on the front nine and it was nice."
Even nicer after his tee shot on the treacherous par-3 eight hole, the infamous Postage Stamp, juiced backward into the hole. By his own count, it's his seventh ace in tournament play and second in a major championship.
Still, Els was disappointed after a careless double-bogey out of a bunker at the par-3 17th dropped him to two under.
"I shot 69 and that's good but I still feel I left some shots out there."
Levet, who lost the Open title to Els in a playoff two years ago at Muirfield, qualified for this year's Open only by winning the Scottish Open last weekend at Loch Lomond.
He places little significance in that famous second-place finish.
"If I made 50 second-place finishes maybe I'd be mad," he said. "But after one second place you take experience and go on."