THEY love a sumptuous serving of nostalgia at Augusta don’t they? In fact, by the time you’ve turned off Washington Road and taken a reflective amble up Magnolia Lane, you’re actually covered in a light dusting of sepia.

With its timeless traditions, yearnings for yesteryear and saccharine sentimentality, the outpourings of teary-eyed reverence could just about lead to flooding in Rae’s Creek.

Memories are made of this, a bit of that and a dollop of the other. Sandy Lyle has plenty of them in the bank since making his Masters debut 40 years ago. The 1988 champion has been asked to talk about his win and the shot from the bunker so much, even the 7-iron that thwacked his ball from the sand on the 18th is hoarse.

A cracker from the clubface this week will be greeted by very little fanfare, of course. With no patrons lining the manicured fairways, the odd “well played, boss” from the caddie will be about as rousing as it gets. There may be the occasional “oh, for **** sake, boss” too as a wayward clatter skitters into the water.

The roars and gasps echoing through the pine trees and dogwoods always invigorated the senses and generated a special kind of Masters magic. Lyle knows all about that. If his 1988 victory was the ultimate Augusta experience, his adventure alongside Jack Nicklaus two years earlier continues to resonate with the great Scot.

Nicklaus was 46, he hadn’t won a major for six years and was seemingly winding down. Paired with Lyle on the final day in 1986, the Golden Bear awoke from hibernation and mounted a legendary charge that should have been accompanied by King Arthur on horseback.

“Jack just kept making birdies and then, of course, there was his eagle on 15 and the noise was coming in from all angles,” reflected Lyle of a cacophony that will be sorely missed this week. “It felt as if the noise was coming down from the clouds. You could not have felt the influence of the crowds at Augusta any more than that.

“We had gone off in what seemed a very casual two-ball, it was like we were just out playing a Sunday practice round. If he had a good round then you’re thinking ‘yeah, he might finish in the top-15’ or if he had a really good round he might manage a top-five or something.

“Neither of us thought he would shoot a 65 and he never showed the impression he would because he had kind of struggled to be two-under after nine holes.

“We didn’t know at the time that Jack would then have a 30 on the back. The noise of the crowds over that back nine was a noise like I’ve never heard.

“The photograph of Jack walking-in the putt with his arm raised is still one of those moments that make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.”

Whoever produces the hair-raising stuff over the next four days will have to settle for quiet appreciation. In this very different Masters week, Lyle will be off in the first group at 7am from the 10th tee. Within an hour of the 62-year-old Scot driving away, defending champion Tiger Woods and man of the moment Bryson DeChambeau will also be up and running on the early shift.

“Bryson is just a whole different animal at the moment,” said Lyle of the big-hitting DeChambeau who is poised to unleash more bombs than a B-52. “I did hear some stories about some of the clubs he took and the lines he took off the tee during a practice round

“It was scary what Bryson was taking on. For example, on the second hole, he took it over the left side and blasted his ball way down to within a wedge of the green. He then hit a 3-wood over the back of the green at the third hole.

"At the fifth, and with the new length on that hole, he took the bunkers out of play down the left side sending a 320-yard shot over the bunkers and then having only a wedge in as well.

“It will be kind of fun to watch what Bryson will do this week. It could be all quite entertaining.”

Entertaining and eerily quiet. The Masters is upon us again … but not as we know it.