Well, that’s the Masters done and dusted for another year. In some ways it’s a miracle the thing got finished on time. And we’re not talking about the weather delays here. We’re talking about Patrick Cantlay’s pace of play.

I don’t know about you, but I had to shovel great fistfuls of Kendal Mint Cake down my thrapple every few minutes just to sustain myself through his agonising, laborious rituals. Perhaps it was no surprise that a couple of Augusta’s treasured pine trees collapsed on Friday. They keeled over with bloomin' boredom. Ponderous Patrick’s performance in the closing round, meanwhile, seemed to take so long, there was a light stoor forming on my TV screen.

We got there in the end. And the 87th Masters got a brilliant winner in Jon Rahm as he pieced together a sublime display of power, precision, poise and patience to claim a first green jacket. The first of many? Who knows in this game. The golfing gods don’t dish out guarantees, after all.

One of my tired old phrases – there’s more than one I hear you sigh – is that the Masters has a familiarity that breeds contentment. It was certainly the case at the weekend. Amid all the division and debate in the men’s professional game, the Masters provided some comforting escapism from the general tumult.

This is what the game of golf in its upper reaches should be all about; the best players in the world coming together and putting on a show. Oh, and good auld Fred Couples making the cut at 63 to send the needle meter pinging into the red on Augusta’s misty-eyed nostalgia-ometer. Syrupy sentimentality is par for the course in this parish. The Masters was, well, the Masters.

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Even Phil Mickelson’s flabbergasting finale was like a soothing wander down memory lane as he came rampaging into a share of second with a rousing 65. The 52-year-old’s defection to the LIV series, and all the incendiary comments he made in the process, had torched his reputation as he backed away from the spotlight with all the grace and finesse of a man reversing a forklift truck into a pallet of Faberge eggs. His hum-drum performances on the Saudi breakaway circuit, meanwhile, had merely underlined the feeling that he was slithering off into competitive irrelevance.

It may be stretching it to say all has been forgiven but, for a glorious spell on Sunday, Mickelson’s swashbuckling endeavours endeared him to the public once more. We’re a fickle old lot when it comes to judgement aren’t we? One minute, we’re lambasting him as a saboteur and a shameless mercenary for taking the riches of a murderous regime. The next, we’re cooing in jubilant exultation as he delivers that trademark goofy grin and the relentless thumbs-up signs that would give the Fonz a repetitive strain injury.

It was just like old times. Mickelson always loved the thrill of the chase, as he courted risk and reward with the kind of fearless nonchalance that used to be adopted by Evel Knievel when he hurtled towards a row of buses. The three-time Masters champion looked positively energised by the experience come the end of Sunday’s stirring show. For all the millions the sloshing LIV gravy train has given Mickelson, the big stage and the big roars of a major provided something that money simply can’t buy.

While Mickelson’s magic left us all spellbound, Rory McIlroy’s demise prompted just as much head-scratching. The Northern Irishman wasn’t at the races as his latest bid to complete the career grand slam ended with the whimper of a missed cut. His quest for this golfing milestone continues to be something of a millstone. His major drought goes back to 2014. All and sundry say it will end one of these days. Even Tiger Woods declared last week that “it’s only a matter of time” before McIlroy conquers his Augusta demons.

As I said earlier, though, who knows what those golfing gods have in store? The great Seve Ballesteros, for instance, won his fifth major title at the age of 31. But he never won another after that. McIlroy is 33 and has been stuck on four major wins for nine years. It’s easier said than done this major-winning lark.

As for Woods himself? Well, the latest twist in the Tiger tale was a painful one as he withdrew injured. Footage of him in the cold and wet hobbling towards his golf bag like someone edging bare foot over a floor of ball bearings highlighted his discomfort. Almost immediately, head-shaking observers were shrieking that it’s time for him to retire. It’s safe to assume, though, that a stubborn, defiant Woods will only call it a day on his own terms. Once golf’s undisputed top dog, Woods is now something of an underdog. The struggle will go on. And Woods will no doubt relish the fight.

If you thought it was a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show now that the season’s first major is over, then think again. This week’s $20 million RBC Heritage has a first prize of $3.6 million that’s bigger than the winning cheque at Augusta as the cash-sodden circus rolls on. The Masters will swiftly become a distant memory. But it left us with a few memories to savour.