AS that thing you are probably sick of reading about continues its rampage, the world of professional golf, like everything, has been flung into disarray with tours on hold, Majors postponed and schedules in tatters.

Look hard enough, though, and there are still one or two hale and hearty pockets of resistance. Well, for the time being at least.

The delightfully named Big Johnson’s Tour – and there’s a perfectly innocent reason behind that particular title – is ploughing on amid the lockdowns, shutdowns and clampdowns and will offer competitive sanctuary to all manner of touring professionals with an event over the Jubilee course in St Andrews tomorrow.

“Rory McIlroy is the 16th reserve,” laughed the tour’s organiser, John Henry, after a surge in entries from players simply desperate to play.

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Rather like a speakeasy operating in the Prohibition years, the Big Johnson’s Tour is going like a fair.

European Tour winner David Law (main picture), Ladies European Tour campaigner Michele Thomson and Euan McIntosh, a new recruit to the European over-50s scene, are playing this week with another fully-subscribed Pro-Am event taking place at Archerfield Links next Monday.

“They are just delighted to have something to play in,” said Henry of the pay-and-play mini-circuit he started back in 2016.

Only yesterday, the US PGA and the Andalucia Masters joined golf's casualty list while the third-tier EuroPro Tour’s entire 2020 season was scrapped.

“Players don’t know when their tours will resume again and they are just desperate to have something. My brother Scott [former tour player] is thinking of going to an 18-holer on the Clutch Pro Tour south of London on Friday.

“It’s £400 to enter with a first prize of £10,000. But everybody is in the same boat and they need to make some money.

“As long as the courses remain open here, we’ll be there. I think both St Andrews and Archerfield, like a lot of places, are getting cancellations from golf groups as well as parties travelling in from around Europe and elsewhere. They are happy that we are coming and helping to fill the void.”

While the sums on the Big Johnson’s Tour are hardly life changing – the top prize will be around £500 but it’s “better than nothing” – the opportunity to keep those competitive instincts sharp in this prolonged period of uncertainty has been gratefully received.

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“It’s not looking great for events all over the place,” said Henry. “We have six events scheduled during the season but I might add a few more if things fall by the wayside on other circuits.”

Henry, who is attached to the Clydebank & District club, has put plenty of honest toil into the circuit he formed four years ago.

“It would be good to make some money out of it but it’s a labour of love really,” admitted the 27-year-old. “I just wanted to give players more opportunities to play.

“My brother used to call me Johnson and when I started talking about a tour, word got round about that and the Big Johnson’s Tour was just a bit of a laugh. It stuck, though. It gives it a bit of intrigue.”

The ongoing impacts of the coronavirus crisis are clear for all to see and Henry doesn’t have to look far to see the effects the pandemic is having.

“I have been working in the pro shop at Clydebank and the club has just decided to close the kitchen for the foreseeable future while a committee meeting was set to take place about how the club will move forward,” said Henry.

“Tuesday is usually one of our busiest days with the seniors but there’s maybe 40 per cent of what’s usually here. It’s a worry for everyone involved in golf.”

A day out on the links tomorrow will provide some momentary respite.

“It will be good to catch up with everybody,” he said of the golfing companionship. “There’s a strong bond among the Scottish pros. We stick together and we need that now because this is going to be a tough time.”