Ewen Ferguson is in great form at the moment
Gary Player tests suit Scott Jamieson
Malaysia's Gavin Green is another Player fan
Richard Mansell can find home comforts down under
There was plenty of fuss about Doctor Who last weekend.
In recent years it's been celebrated for the vibrancy of its story-telling but, for many, its legacy remains prompting a generation to cower behind the sofa in fear of the Daleks - baddies who, in retrospect, were about as terrifying as a pepper mill.
Coincidentally, Thriston Lawrence's final round on Sunday revived memories of my own infant terror of those tinny alien menaces.
You will only wonder why if you weren't watching and, as it happens, I didn't see much but that's because I was back behind the sofa as Lawrence lurched to the turn in chaotic fashion.
The column's selection began the day holding a three-shot advantage over the field but, in truth, there had been a big hint that all was not well around about tea-time on Saturday (which was when the Daleks ruined the weekend, too).
It was about then that I watched a post-third round interview in which Lawrence was asked about the fact that he was "only hitting wedges on the range". "That's not true," he answered in a slightly sharp fashion that made my eyes widen.
He explained that he was quite able to hit short irons on the restricted practice area but that drivers were out. The interviewer persisted with his theme and asked if Lawrence was hitting drivers elsewhere before arriving at the course.
He shook his head, explained he wasn't and, frankly, looked a bit narked.
Next morning his driver, until then his best club in the bag, was an absolute shambles and all I could think about was that damn interview.
There is no guarantee that the questioning caused the breakdown but it reminded me again of the negative potential of post-round interviews.
I recall press men being somewhat irked that Angel Cabrera would feign a lack of competent English ahead of any significant final round. I considered it a brilliant strategy, allowing him to avoid any pitfalls associated with having bad ideas swilling round his head.
In fact, I've always suspected that if Sergio Garcia had pulled the same trick he'd have won a first major long before he finally did.
All conjecture, of course, the sort of gibbering a man clutching a now-useless betting slip needed to allow himself to creep out from behind the sofa.
Oh well, crying won't help. Onwards!
This week's test at the South African Open is, potentially, a long one. The course designer Gary Player has set up Blair Atholl to repel the advances of technology and fitness - so much so, in fact, that the yardage can be squeezed beyond 8,000 yards.
But this parkland track is also on the highveldt, around 1,500 metres above sea level, so those numbers are a little deceptive.
The first two picks this week might be tempted into believing they are nearer home than South Africa because the original Blair Atholl is in Scotland.
The first of those is Ewen Ferguson whose price versus recent form is a tempting relationship.
One year, six months, three months, two months, six weeks - whichever period you pick, the stroke averages tell you he's in the top four and usually top three of this field.
It's a consequence of 12 top 20s in the calendar year and they've come in spots that don't dissuade for this week.
Three of them were in South Africa, those three and another were at altitude, one was at the very long Green Eagle, another up against a PGA Tour field in Scotland and there have been six of them in his last seven starts.
A two-time winner in the 2022 season, he missed out in 2023, but could get 2024 off to a great start this week.
A second Scot and one who has a very fine record in both South Africa and on Gary Player designs.
South Africa first. His only win on the DP World Tour came in the 2012 Nelson Mandela Championship, albeit was an event with many an asterisk next to it.
It was played inside a race track, completed on a course with a reduced par of 65, over 36 holes, and the trophy was utterly bizarre.
Since then poor Jamieson has had no less than five pre-final round leads in South Africa and is yet to add to his winning tally.
But if it's going to happen why not on a Player layout?
Jamieson has four top-six finishes at Leopard Creek and was T11th last year, he's been second at Gary Player CC and was T15th last year, he's been third on the Player Course at DLF and he was T15th on debut at Blair Atholl last year when tied fourth after 18 holes.
I don't think anything will ever give me as much simple pleasure as the fact that Gavin Green's brother is called Galven.
Well, him winning this week might - and his best form in 2023 suggests he has a chance.
He was eighth in the Indian Open on the Player Course at DLF.
At altitude he contended early at the Kenya Open, was T12th at Eichenried and was eighth in Crans (when he was the first round leader).
In South Africa he was sixth in the Jonsson Workwear Open in March and then seventh last week, flying home with a final round of 64 - both of those efforts were also at altitude of course.
He also dropped a hint that he was going to enjoy South Africa's thin air and Player designs when seventh at Gary Player CC last November.
He's got a fine record on a big course at altitude (much lower than this week but still) in the Czech Masters at Albatross (he's been second and third) and he was also second at DLF's Player track in 2017.
As with last week's Australian PGA Championship, there is a tough top of the market to get past although Adrian Meronk came close to appealing.
The Pole is defending the trophy he won last year and the field is only a touch higher class at the top end.
He didn't crack the top 40 last week and, as a consequence, he has dropped to 20/121.00.
The Lakes in Sydney is not as classical as Victoria GC where he won last year but the name of the layout is a little deceptive.
It suggests a modern resort-style track and while it does utilise lakes the shaping and visuals are both wonderful and very old-style.
The fairways are rumpled, beyond them are sandy waste areas and the greens have been contoured mostly by nature - moreover, they look and play like that.
Meronk seems to have an eye for such courses because he has a fine record at Bernardus, a modern but fine heathland layout.
So, too, does the actual pick, England's Richard Mansell.
He was sixth there on debut in 2021 and ninth in 2022. He was also second at Spey Valley, a modern Scottish heathland course, in 2019.
Why might he like the look of such places? It could be that he grew up playing golf at Beau Desert which is much the same.
He ended last season with a pair of top-six finishes in Spain and opened this campaign with a nice T22nd last week.
He can push on in Sydney.
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