Former Silver Medal winner Bennett's back in the swing after bags of trouble
06:48 GMT, 18 July 2012
Scratch beneath the surface of The Open and remarkable human stories emerge. One such script has been written by 40-year-old Warren Bennett.
The winner of the Silver Medal for the best amateur at the 1994 Open at Turnberry, Bennett was immediately tipped for future major victories.
'I wouldn't mind betting he will win The Open in the next 10 years,' said R&A secretary Sir Michael Bonallack in a year that also saw Bennett outscore a young Tiger Woods in a World Amateur team event.
Back in the swing: Bennett qualified after back to back rounds of 68
But Bennett's game deserted him to such an extent that he retired from professional golf in 2009 and began life as a caddie, carrying the bag for Trish Johnson on the women's tour.
Here at Lytham, though, Bennett is back, having decided to give the game he loves one last crack and qualifying after back to back rounds of 68 down the road at Hillside.
Flagging it up: Bennett began life as a caddie in 2009
'It's been quite a journey to get back here,' he said this week.
'If you saw me three years ago you wouldn't have believed it. I enjoyed caddieing but I also wanted to play. I have too much regret and I don't want to live with that any more. I'm not young and decided to do something about it before it was too late.'
It's worth considering that Bennett has no world ranking and is not considered good enough to play on the Challenge Tour that provides many golfers with some kind of living beneath the main European circuit.
His road back to the big time has involved playing in regional events, what he calls 'pay and play' tournaments.
'It was the right thing, to stop at the time,' he reflected as he stood behind the 18th green after practice on Monday.
'But right now there is too much inside me to ignore it. I have to go along with this. If I fail I know that I can live with that now.
Former glories: Bennett, pictured in 1999, after winning the Scottish PGA Championship
'It wasn't jealousy when I was caddieing. Just sadness. That was how I felt about my career. Could I have done better had I gone down a different road all those years ago Maybe so but I didn't.'
Bennett had injury problems in the wake of his solitary European Tour win at the 1999 Scottish Open.
A back problem forced him off the course in 2006 and three years later he was hit by a car, leaving him with a serious hand injury.
'The accident didn't help and my finger made it hard to play but I can't blame that,' he said.
'If I was talking to the “me” of 20 years ago I'd tell myself to go and get a coach. I had never had one. Now I have a coach who I have been seeing for six months. He has made all the difference.
'It feels desperate when your game goes. It's horrendous. There were tears because it hurts. I am playing in The Open but my aim is to get back on tour. The juices are flowing again.
'I've recognised a lot of people this week who I haven't seen for a long time but none of the big names would know who I am. Why would they'
As for his former employer, Bennett is not convinced Johnson misses him much.
'I made a lot of friends as a caddie but I'm not sure I was that good at it,' he smiled.
'When I told Trish I was thinking of playing again she just told me to go for it.'