This correspondent was reminded of this again on Sunday night as the Johnnie Walker Championship roared to a conclusion at Gleneagles. As rumours started to circulate that the giant panda holed up in Auld Reekie's zoo may just be pregnant, the golf writers were beginning to agonise at the prospect of yet another play-off. At that point, Tian Tian could've waddled into the media centre chewing bamboo and felt an immediate affinity with the reporters in her company. After all, if she does go into labour, she, too, will appear restless, she will start to bleat and her waters will break.
The countdown is well and truly on. If we're not holding our breaths in anticipation of a new arrival then we're chalking off the days until the Ryder Cup rumbles into Scotland. Pretty soon we'll be bombarded with "A Year To Go" paraphernalia, which sounds a bit like a marketing drive for the Apocalypse, as the clock continues to tick towards the 2014 showpiece. Here we are, muddling along in August 2013, but the frenzy of forward thinking knows no bounds. Last night, with great excitement, the European Tour officials unveiled the initial sector of the 2014 fixture list.
It almost feels as if we are losing great chunks of our calendars as the hectic promotion of events in the future has us all covering things that haven't even happened yet. Amid all this, there are those who are trying to get through, day to day, week by week and, for all the winners, the professional golf circuit has its fair share of losers.
It is at this time of the season when the nation's amateurs start mulling over the pro plunge. Worryingly, though, there is an increasing number who make that leap without having made any form of impact on the domestic amateur scene, let alone the international stage. In these times of intimidating strength in depth on the main pro circuits, the standards have never been greater while the numbers making the transition have never been higher. Nothing is guaranteed in this game, of course.
When Steven O'Hara joined the paid ranks back in 2001, his sparkling amateur cv was burnished by a Scottish Boys' Championship title, a Scottish Amateur crown and a Walker Cup appearance in the same winning Great Britain & Ireland team as the likes of Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Marc Warren. He did make strides as a pro too. He tied third in the Diageo Championship at Gleneagles in 2004 and, for two years, finished comfortably inside the top 75 on the European order of merit.
Fast forward to 2013, and O'Hara is in that dire situation that many find themselves in. He missed the cut on a return to Gleneagles last week, his 10th early exit in 12 starts this season, and having scraped together barely £1300 from mainly Challenge Tour events, the 33-year-old is now in a golfing no man's land. "I can't keep spending," said O'Hara. "I have a family now and I had to ask myself some questions. Do I risk losing the house just to keep plodding on? I couldn't do that."
Tee to green, O'Hara was always one of the tour's most consistent performers and was regularly in the top-five of the greens in regulation stats. Invariably, however, he languished at the foot of the putting order and the greens would be approached in the same way you'd inch towards a haunted house.
The old putting ills have been a long-standing affliction for the Scots in general on the tour. Even amid the euphoria of his best finish on the European circuit at the weekend, Clydebank's Scott Henry admitted that he had been left "frustrated on the greens". He did sink a 15-footer for eagle on the last en route to a morale-boosting tie for fourth but earlier birdie chances that were spurned left him thinking of what might have been. Henry certainly has the power - he's fifth on the driving distance charts with an average clatter of 305.8 yards - and the former amateur stand out has worked tirelessly to become the complete package.
In this season of two halves, the 26-year-old rookie made four cuts in his first 14 events up until June. He has missed just one of his last nine since and, with a run of six vital tournaments coming up, the impressive Henry could just be finding his feet at exactly the right time.
As both Henry and O'Hara will testify, the jump from the amateur game to the professional level is fraught with trials and tribulations. We can only guess when the New Zealand teenage sensation Lydia Ko will make that switch.
On Sunday, the 16-year-old defended the Canadian Women's Open title on the LPGA Tour with a five-shot romp over a field that included an army of Solheim Cup stars. It was the fourth professional victory of her remarkable young career and one that should propel her into the top 10 of the world rankings. The happy-go-lucky, carefree approach may change when she turns pro, of course, and Ko knows it will be a whole different ball game. "It will be like a job then and every shot will count," she said. We will watch with interest.