Hands up how many of you thought that by the year 2018, the human race would’ve evolved to the point where we’d all be living in futuristic domed cities, careering about on hover boards and going on dates with holograms? No, me neither. We just muddle on as before in a hum-drum existence of daily chores, frequent frowning, substandard Wi-Fi signals and stiff breezes.

But at least we’ve got golf. So with 2017 now consigned to a fusty old vault, what is on the horizon in 2018?

MORE TWISTS IN THE TIGER TALE

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What do you do when a new year birls in? That’s right, you think of something you enjoy doing then vow to give up doing it because all those finger-wagging, tut-tutting fitness freaks hiss that you’re doing too much of it.

Many thought Tiger Woods would have given up golf by now, but here he is in 2018, moving back to the launch pad and preparing for lift-off yet again. He’ll be getting lucrative endorsements from NASA at this rate.

Will it be a successful voyage or another aborted mission? Goodness knows but the mere fact that the Tiger is prowling about continues to add great dollops of wide-spread, drooling intrigue and endless fascination to the global game. And that’s not a bad thing.

RORY READY TO ROAR AGAIN?

Talking of comebacks, it seems Rory McIlroy is ready to bound from the traps like something you’d see on race night at the Shawfield Dogs.

In 2017, a niggling rib injury did little for McIlroy’s mojo. There was an air of resignation about the Northern Irishman during a frustrating campaign in which he was unable to capitalise on possessing, arguably, the finest natural talents in the game. His shoulders were so slumped with despondency at times, this correspondent wondered if Rory had actually been asked to write the Tuesday column?

A prolonged period of rest and rehabilitation should have done McIlroy the power of good, though, and anticipation is building ahead of his return in Abu Dhabi this month. If old Tiger is talking about roaring again at 42, then 28-year-old Rory should generate a fair din too.

DOUBLE BOOKINGS IN THE DIARY

Ah the height of the golfing summer. Events here, showpiece occasions there, bloomin’ overlaps everywhere.

In the choc-a-bloc frenzy of tournaments, a congested, tightly-packed programme that would make the diaries of the world’s great socialites look as barren as Old Mother Hubbard’s scullery, cross-overs and clashes are par for the course.

Here in the cradle of the game this summer, one stands out. The Senior Open, a shimmering collection of celebrated golden oldies competing over the venerable Old Course, takes place the same week as the Ladies Scottish Open down the coast at Gullane.

Nobody benefits in a scenario like this, particularly in Scotland where attendances have been trending downwards. The various golfing bodies and stakeholders always say that they co-operate with counterparts elsewhere, but you really do wonder sometimes?

THE RYDER CUP’S PHONEY WAR

When it comes to over-analysis, hype and hysteria, no event in golf generates quite as much boisterous ballyhoo as the Ryder Cup.

Every single aspect of this biennial transatlantic tussle is pored over with the kind of forensic attention to detail that used to be adopted by Mary Berry as she prodded at the bottom of a Victoria Sponge.

Salivating observers on the other side of the Atlantic have already been predicting a US triumph as the Americans prepare to hurl a star spangled spanner into the European works with an equally star-studded team. But then, predictions tend to be a fool’s errand.

The US have not won on away soil since 1993 and, let’s face it, a lot can happen between January and late September in terms of form, fitness and fortune in this fickle game. There’s a lot of golfing water to pass under the Ponts des Arts before Paris 2018 tees-off.

CAN SCOTTISH GOLF FORM A UNITED FRONT?

Trying to get everyone singing off the same hymn sheet as far as golf in Scotland is concerned is the kind of complex fouter that’s akin to performing surgical ventricular restoration on an ailing goose with a soup spoon.

Original efforts by Scottish Golf to generate new revenue with proposals to raise affiliation fees and bring in a centralised tee-time booking system were greeted by widespread grousing and grumbling.

What it did do, at least, was belatedly bring everyone with a passion for the game around the one table at an open forum which was a bit like a dysfunctional family trying to iron out their differences over Christmas dinner.

A new strategy is set to be voted on in March. With just 12 per cent of golf club members under the age of 34 and nearly 60 per cent over 55, the clock is ticking.