CAN you remember that poem about the sair finger by Walter Wingate? You know, that one that went, "you’ve hurt your finger, puir wee man, your pinkie, deary me"?

Well, your correspondent has actually fractured his finger. Fear not, though. In an act of incredible valour, which really should be rewarded with a Victoria Cross but has not even earned a sympathetic slice of Victoria Sponge, I’m wincing, grimacing and cursing through minor discomfort to bring you the Tuesday column.

Instead of my dainty digits dancing and gliding across the keys of the laptop with the enchanting elegance of Liberace lightly fingering his ivories, the production process was more like the comical jabbing and prodding of Les Dawson clanking out an off-tune piano rendition of Side by Side at the Royal Variety Performance. We got there in the end.

Tiger Woods famously won the 2008 US Open with a broken leg. But could he chisel out 850 words for this back page with a broken finger? I very much doubt it.

Poor old Tiger had a tough time of it over the weekend as he withdrew from the US PGA Championship after a third round 79 which was his highest ever score in that particular major.

Every hirple was analysed, every hobble provoked great conjecture and every anguished glower sparked frenzied speculation as Tiger displayed the kind of tormented countenance of someone gazing at ScotRail’s scaled-back timetable.

His withdrawal was, in many ways, a relief. Rather like watching a video of Elvis Presley in his intoxicating, hip-shoogling, gyrating pomp, then watching that same King of Rock ‘n’ Roll all bloated, mumbling and forgetting the lyrics in those gaudy Las Vegas jumpsuits of the 1970s, there can be a melancholy about such spectacles.

Nobody can take much pleasure in watching, arguably, the greatest golfer of all time having to put in such a monumental, agonising effort just to break 80, even if the mental fortitude and unwavering competitive zeal required to do just that remains pretty inspiring.

Woods was down and out. But we’ve said that many times before haven’t we? And he's delivered plenty of defiant Harvey Smith salutes to the doubters. Professional golf, for better or worse, allows players to keep coming back. The battle will go on.

It’s easy to get all pessimistic about what the future holds for Woods after this bump on the long, long road of his rehabilitation but optimists will point to the fact that in the two events he has played – two major championships no less – he has made the cut both times. A host of younger, fitter, sharper players in the game’s upper echelons did not. There is rust and inconsistencies but there are occasional encouraging signs and things to build on.

The next men’s major, the US Open at Brookline, is only three and a bit weeks away. Many are suggesting Woods should bypass that championship and focus on a re-appearance at the 150th Open in St Andrews. We’re all experts aren’t we?

The storied Old Course, scene of two of his three Open conquests, is, in Woods’s own words, “my favourite place on Earth” and the flatter terrain of the ancient links should be far more forgiving than some of these US major brutes.

His statement of intent after that initial, heroic comeback in April’s Masters that “I will be there” suggested that he would be willing to make one or two sacrifices in his quest to make it to the cradle of the game for a very special anniversary.

In recent years, Woods, with a patched-up body that’s been crumbling like the Parthenon, would talk in superhuman terms. “I’m a walking miracle,” he said ahead of the 2018 Masters. When he won the Green Jacket a year later, his 15th major title and a first since 2008, he proved that miracles do happen.

As his recovery from that shattering car crash continued, Woods declared earlier this year that he will “never again be a full-time pro”. Parachuting into the fraught cut-and-thrust of the showpiece events, though, brings its own issues. Woods needs competitive rounds to stay sharp and build momentum. The body, however, simply won’t allow for that.

Speaking after his round on Thursday at Southern Hills, Woods painted a picture of the routine suffering he endures in the leg that was severely damaged. “Well, I just can’t load it,” he said. “Loading hurts, pressing off it hurts, walking hurts and twisting hurts. It’s just golf. If I don’t do that, then I’m all right.”

The game that gave him so much historic, glory-laden pleasure is now doling out unrelenting pain. “You feel so sorry for him,” said his playing partner, Shaun Norris, after Saturday’s torrid round. “But then again, you also see the type of person that he is, that he grinds through everything and pushes himself. It’s not easy to see a guy like him have to go through that and struggle like that.”

Woods continues to put himself through it, though. “You never give up, you always fight,” he said after that momentous Masters win three years ago. “Giving up is never in the equation.”

That indomitable spirit is needed now more than ever. Funnily enough, that’s exactly what I told myself as my sair finger gingerly connected with the laptop keys…