Since Tiger Woods won his third Claret Jug at Hoylake in 2006 the greatest player of his generation has either been an also-ran or a non-runner as the event comes to its climax.
At Carnoustie he never recovered from hitting the opening shot of his second round out of bounds.
Padraig Harrington won there and while he was retaining his title at Birkdale 12 months later Woods was recovering from reconstructive knee surgery.
At Turnberry he missed the cut as speculation mounted about his off-course life, while in 2010 at St Andrews - post sex scandal - he was eight behind at halfway and 13 behind by the end.
Finally, post divorce, he was once more an absentee from Sandwich last summer after another injury setback to his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' 18 majors.
Whether you love him for what he has achieved as a golfer or hate him for his fall from grace, there is no doubt that with Woods involved in the title shoot-out there is an extra buzz in the crowd and massively more people tuned in to watch around the world.
He was on course to have surpassed the Nicklaus record by now, but has been stuck on 14 for more than four years now.
After four tournament wins in the last eight months, however, Woods has climbed back from 58th in the world to fourth - and could be number one again on Sunday night.
Is he surprised about the speed of that recovery? "No," he said.
Although he was only 40th at The Masters and 21st the US Open - both immediately after wins - three majors in a row without him at least being in the frame seems unlikely.
"I had to go through the process of getting healthy again. Being banged up and missing majors because I was injured wasn't a whole lot of fun.
"If I'm healthy I can prepare properly for majors and get myself there."
There are still those who doubt whether he will ever get to Nicklaus' mark, even though he is still 10 years younger than the Golden Bear was at the 1986 Masters, his last hurrah.
There are certainly those who do not expect to see him reach the level of supremacy he once enjoyed.
Harrington said: "Dominating, it's a hard thing to do.
"There are just too many good players out there now, too many guys with a good chance of winning that it's hard for one player to be able to win as prolifically as Tiger did."
But South African legend Gary Player, who himself won nine majors, will be surprised if Woods does not get to Nicklaus' mark.
"He is a force to be reckoned with again - he has a good mind, is very focused and is playing smarter golf than he did before," Player told the Laureus World Sports website.
"I always felt that Tiger would do it, but the lost two years have hurt him.
"That's eight major championships that have slipped by. I think if he is going to do it, he has to win one this year - The Open or the USPGA in August.
"When he's playing well he's much better than anybody else."
Those "guys" Harrington referred to are led by a trio of home hopes - world top three Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood.
But should they be more worried about him than he is about them?
Donald is playing his 37th major, Westwood his 58th. They have not won one yet.
McIlroy's runaway US Open victory last year came while Woods was at home. He has missed four of his last six halfway cuts and last July at Royal St George's not only disappointed, but allowed the bad weather to get to him.
"Definitely in the past if things haven't gone my way, the fight goes out of me pretty quickly," the 23-year-old world number two said recently in a confession every bit as honest as when he admitted in May that he might have taken his eye off the ball "a little bit".
He is working on both aspects and is such a talent that he is capable of winning anywhere at any time.
Donald and Westwood have not got where they are without having what it takes either and one of them could make it 10 successive first time winners in the majors.
Success for either would also make it 16 different winners of the last 16 majors - but so would success for Woods.
He was presented with the silver medal as leading amateur at Lytham in 1996. He might well have his arms around the Claret Jug for a fourth time this weekend.
If the weather does not scupper him, that is.