Three things were abundantly clear after the opening round of the Hero Indian Open at Delhi Golf Club: Peter Lawrie's revival appears to be here to stay; the European Tour is a multinational phenomenon like no other; and Miguel Angel Jiménez remains as exciting and entertaining a player as ever, even without the Ryder Cup captaincy.
“I am very happy for Darren," Jiménez said after displaying some shotmaking brilliance en route to a one under 70 that left him tied for 23rd, five shots behind a quintet of leaders: SSP Chawrasia, Canadian Richard T Lee, Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman, Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren and Chapchai Nirat of Thailand.
The 51-year old Spaniard then added: "He deserves to be the Ryder Cup captain as much as I do. I would love to do it one day but I am happy for Darren because he has done a lot for the Tour as well.
"I sent him a text last night just to say well done and that I know he will do a great job. I didn’t call him because I knew he would be very busy but I wanted to say well done and that if he needs anything from me when he is Captain then all he has to do is call me.
“To me The Ryder Cup is very important and I will always want to be involved in it in some way. I suppose the best way for me to be involved is by taking my clubs. You never know – maybe you will see me at the next one with my clubs.”
There were payers of 10 nationalities among the top 14 on the leaderboard at the day of day one on a tight track where eight players opted to leave the driver out of their bags altogether, the European Tour reported.
The leaders have a two-shot lead over a group of nine players with Lawrie in the next bunch, tied for 14th after a two under 69 featuring two birdies and no bogeys.
The Dubliner, 40, is battling to win back his card on invitations and with sponsorship from Denis O'Brien — he has Newstalk on his cap and PGA Catalunya as his touring course — he's made his last three cuts in succession and stands 85th in the Race to Dubai.
Lawrie recently paid tribute to those who have helped him get back on his feet with outgoing European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and world No 1 Rory McIlroy near the top of the list.
Kevin Phelan.,who like Lawrie, Gareth Maybin and Simon Thornton lost his card last season, was three over after nine following four dropped shots in a five-hole spell. But he held firm and signed for a two over 73 worth a share of 80th in his first start this year.
That was one better than Damien McGrane's 74 but two worse than Maybin, who had four birdies and five bogeys in a one over 72 to share 56th spot in just his second start since the South African Open in January.