Well, that came round quickly didn’t it? Given that Dustin Johnson has enjoyed the shortest reign of any Masters champion, you would not be surprised if his green jacket had just the one sleeve on it.

The world No.1 was certainly dressed for success just five months ago when he won the delayed Masters in fine style. The coronavirus pandemic ensured that this traditional golfing rite of spring would be more of a winter warmer as it was postponed until November. Now back in its usual slot for 2021, a tentative feeling of normality is slowing returning.

With its comforting sense of sameness and anticipation, The Masters has a familiarity that breeds contentment even if all the usual rapt reverence, dewy-eyed veneration and drooling piety that tumbles forth from all and sundry has ventured far beyond the realms of self-parody.

It remains remarkable, for instance, that folk can trot out the trademark phrase “a tradition unlike any other” with a straight face amid all this gushing genuflection.

What was it Gary Player said back in the day again? “There is absolutely nothing humorous at The Masters. Here, small dogs do not bark and babies do not cry.”

But we wouldn’t have it any other way would we? Back in November, it was the imperious Johnson who was the master of all he surveyed as he swaggered to a formidable five-shot victory.

The ambling, nonchalant Johnson usually displays an inscrutable countenance but his Augusta conquest prompted an outpouring of teary emotion that showed this hitherto unflinching gunslinger in a new light.

It was a Masters unlike any other for the strange, pandemic-ridden times; a stripped back showpiece of soft greens that were as welcoming as a Washington Road steak house, two-tee starts and an absence of hair-raising roars echoing through the pines.

The environment may have been different to the norm but, as always, it still demanded great technique, temperament, execution and all round excellence to prevail.

Johnson had those attributes in shovel loads. For all the pre-event talk of Bryson DeChambeau potentially doing this, that and the other to Augusta, the golfing scientist was no match for this well-oiled, fine-tuned clump of golfing engineering who played to percentages not pipe dreams.

Can he be the first man to win successive green jackets since Tiger Woods in 2002? There will be plenty backing him, even though his form heading into the opening men’s Major of the year has hardly been rousing.

A modest couple of weeks in the Florida Swing was followed by an early exit from the WGC Matchplay where he almost came a cropper against Oban’s Robert MacIntyre. That he initially added the Valero Texas Open to his schedule last week told its own story, but then he withdrew and opted for a quiet preparation at home. Whether he has found the spark again will be revealed today when the 85th Masters gets going.

For the aforementioned MacIntyre, meanwhile, it will be another new experience in a blossoming career packed full of them.

Along with veteran campaigner, Sandy Lyle, and Glasgow exile Martin Laird, who is back at Augusta for the first time since 2013, the 24-year-old MacIntyre forms part of a three-pronged tartan army and he will have his senses shaken and stirred by the majesty of the Masters.

Fuzzy Zoeller once described the walk to Augusta’s first tee as “the greatest natural laxative in the world”. It did not cause him too much concern, mind you. In 1979, in his first appearance at The Masters, he won it.

A decade earlier, another rookie, Marty Fleckman endured a more shoogly debut. His opening drive on the first was sliced over the scoreboard, over the media centre and towards the entrance gates. ‘’Is that out-of-bounds?’’ Fleckman gasped. ‘’I don’t know,’’ the starter replied. ‘’No one has ever hit it over there.’’

Talking of hitting it here, there and everywhere, a significant focus will fall on DeChambeau and his barnstorming bazookas off the tee. Last November, he went into The Masters boldly declaring that Augusta played as a par-67 for him. After whipping everyone into a frenzy, his declarations of intent came unstuck as he was humbled amid the hype and hubris. The 27-year-old finished tied 34th and was outscored by a couple of shots on the final day by 63-year-old playing partner Bernhard Langer.

The runners and riders for this week’s affair are bountiful. Justin Thomas’ sublime tee-to-green performance en route to victory in The Players’ Championship recently will serve him very well at Augusta, while a resurgent Jordan Spieth, the Masters champion in 2015, has been trending in the right direction in recent months and his timely victory in Texas at the weekend rubber-stamped his resurgence.

Jon Rahm has just become a father for the first time and will have fresh impetus, while 47-year-old Lee Westwood, who has been in thrilling form, has still not given up hope of ending his Major hoodoo.

And what of Rory McIlroy? There are probably alien life forms in the darkest recesses of the galaxy who probably know the phrase “can he finally win the career grand slam this year?” Every year we ask it, and every year McIlroy’s assault on the milestone becomes more of a millstone.

Last year followed a familiar pattern for McIlroy in the Majors; a ruinous opening round followed by a surging salvage operation. Since 2015, the year after he won the last of his four Majors, McIlroy is a combined 28-over in the first round of golf’s marquee events and 61-under for rounds two, three and four. It is a fascinating statistic. In his last seven Masters appearances, the Northern Irishman has finished outside the top 10 just once.

Now that he has sought out the advice of the renowned swing guru, Pete Cowen, eager observers are looking to see if he has found a quick, and ultimately, triumphant fix.

Just five months on from the last Masters, meanwhile, those same enthusiasts are getting ready for another fix of Augusta.