Rumbling up the line on the train the other night, while gazing forlornly out of the window and trying to think of something to write in this column, your correspondent was struck by two things.

Firstly, you don’t get much inspiration for the weekly wafflings as the carriage shudders by the platform at Sandwell & Dudley. And secondly, nobody uses money anymore. “The buffet cart is open and you can pay in the usual ways using Android Pay, Apple Pay and Contactless . . . oh and cash,” said the train manager over the PA system.

Amid all this high-tech tapping, swiping and downloading, the simple, time-honoured process of handing over a few coins is rapidly becoming something of a rare occurrence, it tends to be accompanied by the kind of curious, whispering gawks and craning necks that you used to get when someone had a fusty bronze skeat evaluated on the Antiques Roadshow. But wait. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The golfing landscape has changed a bit since Tiger Woods was in his imperious pomp. But then again, it’s not really changed at all. And, in a sense, that is something of a concern.

For the time being, all and sundry are revelling in this latest chapter of the Tiger tale. Attendances are up, television ratings are up, sales of this, that and the other are up. Even George at the allotment reckons the Tiger effect has led to his tomato plants shooting up a bit earlier than normal.

Woods’ rousing, yet ultimately futile, weekend charge in The Players Championship at Sawgrass was so thunderous, all that was missing was a musket volley and a reveille.

He played some terrific, captivating stuff at times. He smiled a lot too. And, like his tee-shot which plunged into the water on the 17th, there were still the costly errors and inconsistencies that can only be expected of a man who is still building up a head of competitive steam in just his eighth start of 2018. A calm sense of level-headed reason and perspective tends to be in short supply when Woods is in town.

Having just survived the halfway cut, his barge up the order was mightily impressive. He played the first 12 holes on Saturday and Sunday in a total of 14-under. For the last six, however, he was four-over. Getting over that line will require patience as well as a strength of mind that has been sorely tested over the last couple of years.

He is getting there, though. And while he continues to get there, then folk will continue to follow him in entranced droves. At one point of the Players Championship, Webb Simpson, the eventual winner, was so far ahead of the rest, he may as well have been playing in the 2019 edition of the PGA Tour’s flagship.

Woods, meanwhile, commandeered the kind of overwhelming airtime that makes you think he is actually running the television networks. In a sense, he is.

When Woods is around – as has always been the case – it almost gets to the point where nobody knows the rest of the field is there. Other major champions or tournament winners are often rendered anonymous by this imbalanced, one-man circus which cannot be healthy in the long term.

As wonderful as it is to have a more care-free Woods looking fit, happy and playing a relevant part on the leaderboards again, what happens when he is gone for good? Let’s face it, at 42, and with a back that’s probably supported by a variety of rivets, girders and creaking joists, Woods is not going to be around forever.

A few years ago, Rory McIlroy suggested that “a few guys need to put their hands up and try to be the dominant player in the game because that’s what people like to see.” The Northern Irishman was well aware that there was a void to fill.

McIlroy is one of the few players who has that genuine star attraction but it’s not in the same, frenzied league as Woods. The current golfing landscape can see any number of players win on a given week but, in an age where celebrity seems to rule the roost and the big name sells, widespread parity doesn’t cut it.

Golf continues to enjoy the latest Woods ride and all its various spin-offs. When the trip is finally over, though, where does it turn next?