"We're still around," announced Bernard Gallacher with a smile. Four months on from the cardiac arrest that almost killed him, the 64-year-old was back in his homeland for the first time since that devastating night in Aberdeen when he "died" thrice on his way to hospital.
Handed the ultimate Mulligan, thanks to the rapid response of the medical teams that fateful August evening at the Marcliffe Hotel, Gallacher continues to make a recovery but it's not all been plain sailing. As he prepared for a rapturous reception as the guest of honour at the Scottish PGA's annual luncheon in Glasgow's Hilton Hotel, the Scot made his eye-opening admission.
"I think I can tell you this now, but on November 5 and November 22, I had two small setbacks," revealed Gallacher, who was struck down with the same arrhythmia of the heart that almost claimed the life of Tottenham Hotspur's Fabrice Muamba last year and caused the death of former Wales manager Terry Yorath's son.
"I spent four days in the hospital on that second time. I was overdoing it a bit, gardening, washing cars, playing golf. The first time, I was home on my own when it happened. I suddenly thought I'd fallen over in my office and bruised my left arm, I must have conked out. The defibrillator that they put in my chest kicked in to get it going again. The wires inside there are attached to my heart and if they detect it going into a rhythm it kicks in and gives it a bolt, a shock, and brings it around again."
Those who rallied around him were in attendance yesterday to see Gallacher in fine fettle. "All I can say is thanks very much," added Gallacher, who is now driving a campaign to install defibrillators in golf cliubs across the country.
"That night he (Colin) was there and he recognised right away what was going on, because he actually sells defibrillators. I couldn't have had a better person there. I was very lucky. I'm very lucky to be around."
As a casual chin-wag embraced the Ryder Cup and the perilous state of certain golf clubs in his native Lothians, there was one particular question that almost caused a heart-stopping moment. Members of the Royal Burgess in Edinburgh, the world's oldest golfing society, recently decided against taking a vote on allowing women into their all-male set up. "I'm an honorary member at Royal Burgess . . . a non-voting one," he added with a chuckle, upon learning that less than 30% of members had given the thumbs up for the motion. There was a serious addition, though. "The people who have to lead this are the R&A," he went on. "I've felt that for a while now. It was greatly discussed at Muirfield this year, as we all know. If there are no lady members of the R&A it is difficult for them to tell people to introduce it into their clubs. So we can forget the issue about Royal Burgess and Muirfield. It has to be led from the top like everything. Unless it is led at the top, then it is going to be a long journey."
Gallacher, meanwhile, continues along the road to recovery.