When it comes to The Masters, familiarity breeds contentment. “We would stay in the same house every year and Peter Alliss would even leave his slippers there,” said Ken Brown as he reflected on the homely, routine pleasures of Augusta that tend to be as soothing as a pair of auld baffies warmed at the two-bar fire.

With its reassuring sense of sameness, The Masters remains the ultimate in golfing comfort food even if the excessive dollops of syrupy schmaltz and sugar-coated reverence just about leads to gout.

Things are a bit different this year, of course. What was golf’s great rite of spring is now something of a winter warmer as the coronavirus upheaval dunted The Masters into a November date.

Brown, meanwhile, won’t be there at all and his quirky, inflatable-object infused ‘Ken On The Course’ BBC analysis of Augusta’s various nooks, crannies, perils and pitfalls will be another piece of furniture missing from a stripped-back major.  “It’ll be the first time I’ve not worked at The Masters for over 20 years,” he said with a wistful sigh.

As a player, Brown made just one appearance at The Masters in 1988. It wasn’t a bad one to be at. Sandy Lyle won it. After Seve’s trailblazing wins in 1980 and 1983, Lyle’s triumph – the first by a golfer from GB&I - sparked a period of pomp and prosperity for European players that would lead to six green jackets in the next eight years.

“Sandy winning meant such a lot to the European Tour and especially the British and Irish players,” reflected Brown of his fellow Scot’s victory. “It was a real time of milk and honey to be involved in the game, especially from these islands.”

Lyle’s conquest may have provided the catalyst for a sea change, but it didn’t change good old Sandy. “The day after his win, we both drove in convoy to the next event at Hilton Head and I had to go in front because Sandy didn’t want to get lost,” added Brown with a chuckle. “He was still just Sandy.

“When we got there, we went out fishing. There were little alligators swimming about and I was teasing them, casting my line near them. Suddenly, one came rushing out and frightened the living daylights out of both of us. ‘Masters champion gets bitten by an alligator’ would have been quite a headline.”

Brown had certainly been bitten by the Augusta bug. That he never played in The Masters again remains a deep regret. “There is a sadness as I loved it so much and it was so up my street, with the chipping, the putting and all the tactics,” said the five-time Ryder Cup player, who had won the PGA Tour’s Southern Open the year before to earn a drive up Magnolia Lane.

“In those days, the top 25 got invited back. I finished 36th. On the final day, I made a big error on the first hole and took six. I couldn’t get it out of my mind how stupid I’d been trying to go for the flag. It took me a few holes to find myself again and that cost me hugely. But that’s Augusta for you. If you are bold and you get it right? Marvellous. If you are just a fraction out, it gets you.”

This latest instalment of The Masters may have been delayed for over six months but, after Tiger Woods’ jaw-dropping win in 2019 – “the story of all stories,” cooed Brown – the sense of anticipation remains as fevered as ever.

“Never count him out,” added Brown of Woods’ chances. “And look at Phil (Mickelson)? He’s 50 but don’t bet against him. The Bryson DeChambeau story is fascinating. Can he turn that power hitting into a huge advantage and what will the implications for golf be?

“The change in date for me is intriguing in that golfers have a rhythm to the season, a rhythm to their lives. With this change to November, the rhythm has gone. One of the biggest tournaments of the year is coming up and it’s all out of sync. Instead of winding down, there’s a huge race to be won. Some may find it hard. The golfing body clock is all skewed.”

While the serious business was taking place around him, Brown’s on course reconnaissance missions always added some levity to the BBC’s coverage. “One year I kicked a football up the 13th to demonstrate how you had to draw the ball,” he recalled. “The Augusta officials have always been pretty good with my requests but after that they did say, ‘next year Ken, no football’.”

This year it will be more a case of Ken on the couch than Ken on the course. “I wish I was there, it’s a special, special week,” he said with a deep yearning.