You may have noticed that the nation’s High Streets – or what’s left of them – are gearing up and girding their metaphorical loins for Black Friday, that shopping tradition/annual fight to the death in the USA that’s now become a shopping tradition/annual fight to the death over here.

Do you want to watch a so-called civilised society gouge, elbow and kick its way towards oblivion?

Yes? Then shove a “75 per cent off” label on a Kenwood blender, retreat to a safe distance and enjoy the pandemonium unfolding before you as boggle-eyed, salivating hordes embark on the kind of frenzied shelf-stripping that has all the decorum of a pack of shrieking jackals gnashing away at the mouldering carcass of a warthog.

Saying that, the jackals are marginally more dignified in their rabid ravagings. It’s a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog world, all of which brings us violently crashing into this week’s guddle about golf.

Manassero misery goes on


It’s 10 years now since this scribe and his colleagues first clapped eyes on Matteo Manassero during his rousing run to victory in the Amateur Championship at Formby as a 16-year-old.

It was an Italian Job that should have featured commentary from Michael Caine.

While the bus from that celluloid caper was last glimpsed see-sawing on the edge of a mountain precipice, Manassero has toppled over the cliff in recent years.

After that breakthrough conquest a decade ago, Manassero more than lived up to the hype that was built up around him.

At just 17 he became the youngest ever winner on the European Tour while his win in the BMW PGA Championship in 2013, his fourth tour title, saw him become the youngest winner of the circuit’s flagship event.

During his brilliant rise, Manassero reached a high of No.25 on the world rankings but he is now so far down the depths of that particular order, his name just about has deep-sea coral attached to it.

READ MORE: Matthew ready for second Solheim Cup stint

For the record, the 26-year-old is currently 1,232nd. He lost his tour card this year after making just one cut in 21 events and, last night, he missed the 72-hole cut in the qualifying school final. There seems to be no end to this spiral of despair.

In five years of gradual decline, Manassero, who was never one of the longest hitters on the tour, tried to find that bit of extra distance but the technical tweaks have led to more pain than gain.

Some deeper, personal lows have not helped in a game of complex demands that requires a great deal of mental fortitude. Professional golf can be a brutal arena where fragility is ruthlessly exposed.

It wasn’t that long ago folk were tipping Manassero to be a major champion. In this furiously fickle pursuit, you can quickly become a forgotten man.

Down to the wire in Dubai


Back in May, Bernd Wiesberger was ranked 378th in the world. Here in November, he is 24th and on course to become the first Austrian to be crowned European No.1 as the Race to Dubai reaches its finale this week.

While the more-heralded Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Jon Rahm and Matt Fitzpatrick could still plunder the Harry Vardon Trophy, Wiesberger remains in pole position to grab the prize.

As composed as the Vienna Philharmonic, Wiesberger’s quiet yet driven demeanour has been rewarded with three wins this year that have taken his career haul to seven.

His resurgence from a wrist injury that sidelined him for seven months in 2018 deserves great acclaim. As the great Vardon himself once said: “Even in our darkest hour we must remember, never despair.”

That’s easier said than done in this infuriating game but Wiesberger’s rise back to prominence would no doubt have had old Harry politely applauding by the greenside.

READ MORE: MacIntyre in pole position for rookie reward

Those of a Scottish persuasion, meanwhile, are eagerly waiting to see if Robert MacIntyre can cap a quite thrilling season by winning the tour’s rookie of the year prize.

At 11th on the rankings he’s in the driving seat to land that particular bauble. MacIntyre’s decorated countrymen Bernard Gallacher, Sam Torrance, Sandy Lyle and Colin Montgomerie were all rookie of the year winners during their formative years while the roll of honour also includes the likes of Tony Jacklin, Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal and Brooks Koepka.

MacIntyre still has a fight on his hands – nearest rival Kurt Kitayama is just one place and a mere 90.6 points behind him on the order of merit – but, rookie of the year or not, the Oban lad has more than earned his stripes.

Golfing gods shine on Todd


As Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t quite gasp: “Golf … bloody hell.” Just over a year ago, Brendon Todd was pondering giving up the game after a long, grim battle with the full-swing yips during which he missed more cuts than an absent-minded barber.

In the midst of that thoroughly wretched spell, Todd made just three cuts in 40 events, was struggling to break 80 and had plummeted outside the world’s leading 2000.

Yesterday, in the weather-delayed Mayakoba Classic in Mexico, he won his second successive PGA Tour title following victory in the Bermuda Championship a fortnight ago.

Those golfing gods work in curious ways.