Having the competitor’s badge that enables players access to almost any where at Royal Troon will probably provide the biggest boost to Scott Gregory’s dream of becoming a European Tour player – regardless of how he performs at The Open this week.
Within 24 hours of flying in from France, where Gregory and his England team-mates competed in the European Amateur Team Championships, the 21-year-old found himself on the putting green with two-time Major winner Jordan Spieth.
And the Texan, regarded as the best putter on the planet right now – despite falling to world number three in recent weeks following that Masters meltdown in April – was more than happy to practice alongside the Corhampton member.
Gregory spent the best part of an hour on Sunday knocking in putts alongside the 22-year-old, who also won the US Open and came within a whisker of adding the Claret Jug to his rapidly-growing silverware collection at St Andrew’s a year ago.
Gregory said: ‘Sunday morning and I was sitting having breakfast in the players’ lounge, which was just nuts!
‘Then I get to hang out and chat with Jordan Spieth for an hour on the putting green, talking about the Masters and other stuff.
‘He is just the nicest possible guy – oh, and pretty good at holing putts by the way!’
During Monday’s practice round, Gregory then paired up with 2012 US Open winner Webb Simpson and found out exactly how tough Troon’s back nine can be into the wind.
The Waterlooville man’s family have travelled up en masse to Troon, with dad Mike joining his girlfriend Sianie Anderson in the galleries while Gregory and caddie Steve Kattenhorn are inside the ropes.
Proud Mike, who is the manager of the Hampshire Boys team, said: ‘So many times we’ve been at Wentworth at the BMW PGA standing round the putting green watching his heroes – and now he’s out there chatting and laughing with them. It’s incredible.
‘Watching him play with Major winner Webb Simpson and being totally comfortable is a testament to how far Scott has come.
‘It’s a proud moment watching all the kids going up to him for autographs and seeing him chatting with spectators.
‘He’s still the same person wherever he is and really enjoying the moment.’