By Matt Slater
BBC Sport at Carnoustie
It was a sheepish-looking Luke Donald who sidled up to the journalists waiting to speak to him at Carnoustie on Sunday.
Donald is Britain's top-ranked golfer
"What do you want to talk to me about?" he said in a manner that suggested embarrassment rather than big-shot bolshiness.
But the 29-year-old Englishman patiently answered every question that came his way. Some were about his own display, a seven-over 78 that saw him slide to 13 over, while others were about his good friend Sergio Garcia.
When asked if a victory for the Spaniard would help lift the burden of expectation from the shoulders of Europe's crop of young golfers, Donald said yes, perhaps, before admitting it might not help him that much.
"I suppose there will be less talk about why we haven't had a European (major) winner for so long," the Ryder Cup star said.
"But there will still be talk about why I am not winning or playing better in Opens. I guess I am just going to have to figure that out myself."
Donald is right, even though it was not his mate who snapped Europe's winless streak at 31.
I just wasn't good enough this week
Padraig Harrington's victory might have been another Carnoustie classic but it was not made in Britain. The European drought might finally be over but we are still gasping.
Coming into this week, Donald, the world number nine and top-ranked Brit, carried a large measure of the host nation's hopes.
A superb amateur, a winner as a pro on both sides of the Atlantic and a fixture in the world's top 20 for the last few years, the Chicago-based golfer has been talked up as this country's next major winner for longer than he would want to admit.
He has gone close, most notably at the 2005 Masters and 2006 USPGA, but he has not got within a sniff of things at this championship. He missed the cut in his first five appearances and has finished well down the field in his last three.
It is for this reason that, despite being one of the world's best players, he could walk down many British high streets completely unrecognised.
He probably will not be too disappointed about that this evening, as he finished tied for 63rd with the teaching pro at the Wessex Golf Centre, Jon Bevan.
But Donald is far from alone in being a highly touted Brit hoping to sneak out the back door at Carnoustie.
David Howell, another superb player with a shocking Open record, also looked incredulous when told there were journalists hoping to talk to him. "Really?" the 31-year-old Englishman said.
He was asked about his recent injury problems, which have caused him to withdraw from a number of events this year, but he did not make any excuses.
"I just wasn't good enough this week," he said, with disarming honesty.
Paul Casey, the world number 18, also arrived in Carnoustie under an injury cloud, which was a huge shame as he has been in excellent touch for last 12 months.
That said, Casey's campaign has been relatively understated and few hopes were pinned on him. This is probably a result of his poor record in the Open and the suspicion that it will never really improve.
His game is based on power, and when his putter gets hot he is a match for anybody on a parkland course. The control needed to win on a links course, however, is not his forte.
Rose was Britain's joint-top finisher at the Open
"I found a lot of bunkers," Casey admitted after signing for a one-over 72 that left him two over for the tournament.
"So I didn't give myself the opportunity to claw the shots back. That's about it. Disappointing."
His playing partner and compatriot Nick Dougherty also failed to produce his best form when it really mattered.
Having taken a little longer than expected to develop into the kind of player many, including Nick Faldo, had hoped he would become, the 25-year-old has made big strides this year.
A share of seventh at the US Open last month showed he belonged in this company and Dougherty was hoping for more of the same this week.
He gave it everything and produced one of the best shots of the week that hardly anybody saw - a low, fizzing four-iron from sodden rough to the 12th green to set up a birdie - but overall the magic was just not there. A 75 left him on five over in 42nd place.
One better than Dougherty was Lee Westwood, one of the sometimes forgotten generation of British golfers. Still only 34, the former European number one had his moments early on but will be unhappy with his weekend.
A special mention in despatches must also be reserved for Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who claimed the Silver Medal for finishing as the top amateur. The 18-year-old's is a talent that we will see plenty of in the future.
Let us hope, however, that we are not still waiting for a British major win by the time he has matured into a genuine contender.
The battle for top Brit this week was fought out between Justin Rose, arguably the new flag-bearer for the young guns, and Paul Broadhurst, a golfer as far removed from the funky trousers and highlights brigade as it is possible to be on tour these days.
If anyone suggests we are not trying, that we don't care about winning, then they want to have a chat with us
Their scrap ended in a honourable draw: the younger man carding a 70 and the veteran a 72 to finish on two under. Broadhurst should be delighted with his return, Rose may be less enamoured.
His chances of victory effectively went on the first day, specifically the last four holes of the first day. The calm and concerted recovery he managed after that will do him no harm in the future.
The 26-year-old has now finished in ties for fifth, 10th and 12th at this year's majors. He will win one soon, and then perhaps a few more.
But all this waiting is making us antsy and them angry.
Perhaps the last word on this subject should be left to Rose's best friend and fellow major saviour, Ian Poulter.
"So another one goes by," he said. "Another question to be asked again in a couple of weeks: 'When is it going to be?' I don't know.
"It's a boring question. We are trying our absolute nuts off. If anyone suggests we are not trying, that we don't care about winning, then they want to have a chat with us.
"You keep asking the question. We will keep trying to play the golf."
And that, after all, is the only thing we can truly ask for.