You know you are reaching a certain vintage when awards start being bestowed upon you. “It’s nice to be recognised when I am still alive and kicking,” said Sandy Lyle with a wry smile as he received the PGA in Scotland Recognition Award at the annual, glass-clinking, snout-in-the-trough get together in Glasgow.

Lyle’s heroic, trail-blazing endeavours, of course, are rightly celebrated. As another of the greats, Seve Ballesteros, once said: “Sandy was the greatest God-given talent in history. If everyone in the world was playing their best, Sandy would win and I’d come second.”

Here in 2019, Lyle remains as fit as a freshly restored fiddle and the competitive fires that swept him to Open and Masters glory in his imperious pomp continue to burn. At 61, the decorated Scot is still battering away on the lucrative Champions Tour in the US but his last win on the over-50s scene was back in 2011. He managed just one top-10 this season but is certainly not ready to toss in the towel just yet. Reaquainting himself with the sharp end of the leaderboard, though, may take a bit of getting used to.

"I wouldn't write myself off, no,” he said of his prospects of adding to his worldwide haul of 32 professional titles. “I think it would be a bit daunting if I ever get in the position on the Sunday. That would be strange. It would be like starting over again after so many years of not winning.

"There's something in there that keeps me going, though. You know in your own mind that you have a window of so many years.

"I'm 61 and there are new guys coming in at 50 who are a bit fitter and are always going to be up there in the first few years as you start sliding down that slippery slope. Stopping that is the hard thing. But I think there are a good few years left where I can put some decent numbers on the board. I still love it when I get started. I'm just not happy with my performance on the Seniors Tour, not by far. Coming 45th and 55th most weeks is a little annoying.”

The evergreen Bernhard Langer is a year older than Lyle but continues to sweep up titles with unwavering abundance on the over-50s scene. The redoubtable German continues to be a pesky perennial on the leaderboard.

“You are about nine holes in to the first round and up comes the name Langer on the leaderboard and you think, 'he's there again. why doesn't he have a day or a week off or can't we send him back to the regular tour?',” added Lyle with a chuckle. “He’s still churning out the scores week in, week out. He's winning and winning and winning.”

Lyle was certainly used to that in his glorious period of prosperity. The Scot won his Open crown at St George’s in 1985. In 2020, Tiger Woods will head to the Kent coast looking for another Claret Jug. Injury meant Woods missed the last Open at Sandwich in 2011 and he will not have played that particular course since 2003, when he famously lost a ball with his opening tee-shot.

Having completed his clamber back up for the pits of despair with his earth-shuddering Masters conquest this year, Lyle remains convinced the Tiger can keep roaring for a while yet. “I think he has more wins in the tank,” he said. “We all wondered if he would ever win again and he's proved us all wrong. His mental side also looks to be getting stronger all the time too.

"Not having played at Sandwich for so long won't even enter his mind. It's astonishing what he's overcome mentally and physically. I think there's a bright future ahead of him.”

In his swinging sixties, meanwhile, Lyle hopes his own future can see him back at the top of the golfing hit parade.