Did you notice that North Korean crackpot dictator Kim Jong-un unveiled his daughter to the world for the first time the other day? Like all doting faithers, he took her along to the testing of one of his cute long-range ballistic missiles.

Here in Glasgow, meanwhile, I’ve been parading my newly born second son around the local parish. While I stopped short of coochie-cooing him in front of a terrifying nuclear arsenal – I’ve actually stored my weapons of mass destruction away for the winter alongside the Dahlia tubers – he did get a brief glimpse of something arguably more devastating. Yes, that’s right, he watched the agonies of his dad chiselling out the Tuesday column. The poor mite will be scarred for life.

So, before he wakes up and demands to be fed, winded, fed, changed, winded, put in the cot, winded some more, changed again, put down in the cot, winded, fed even more, winded and plonked back in the cot again, let’s crack on.

The 2022 DP World Tour season drew to a finale at the weekend with a captivating showdown that featured more big guns than a family outing with Kim whatshischops and led to Jon Rahm winning the Tour Championship in Dubai and Rory McIlroy topping the rankings.

Of course, golf doesn’t really stop does it? Before you can say ‘have you winded that bairn again?’ the 2023 campaign on the DP World circuit will be underway at the Joburg Open this week.

Over in the USA, meanwhile, the 2023 PGA Tour season has been marching on for weeks in that non-stop, wraparound thingy that tosses conventional calendars out of the window. And, on the LPGA Tour, the remarkable Lydia Ko capped a thrilling year by winning the CME Globe Tour Championship and the Player of the Year award on Sunday.

HeraldScotland: Gemma Dryburgh finished seventh in FloridaGemma Dryburgh finished seventh in Florida (Image: Getty)

To be honest, probably everybody could do with a bit of a break. Let’s face it, the 2022 season, on the men’s front at least, has been riven by rancour and recriminations as the exhausting civil war between the established tours and the LIV Golf rebellion roars on.

Money is the root of all evil, so folk say as they rummage down the back of the couch after they’ve had the wealthy neighbours in for tea, and that has certainly been the case in the game’s upper echelons during this unsavoury war of attrition.

It's been the year of the cash grab and all we seem to have talked about is dirty dollars here and filthy lucre there. It’s not all been bitter and divisive, though. On the women’s front, the increased money on offer has actually been the cause of some celebration instead of confrontation, condemnation and aggravation.

The LPGA Tour continues to go from strength to strength both in terms of finance and talent. With a global pool of players that has more depth than a burial on the high seas, 2022 spawned 26 different winners in 32 events. Eleven of those champions were first-time victors, including Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh, who followed up her maiden win in Japan recently by finishing seventh among the cream of the circuit’s crop at the Tour Championship. Her confidence will be through the roof.

It’s no secret that LIV has women’s golf on its radar too but, for the time being, the LPGA is growing on its own terms

Ko’s win at the weekend, meanwhile, earned her a cheque for $2 million, the biggest in the female game. In 2023, the overall prize fund on the LPGA circuit will be a record-busting $101 million thanks to various corporate injections that have propelled women’s golf into new financial territory.

This distribution of wealth, however, can be top heavy. Ko’s $2 million cheque on Sunday was equal to or greater than the entire purses at 20 LPGA Tour events this year. For the top brass who get into all the rich showpieces events, life is good. For the rank-and-file who play a more regular schedule, it’s not so easy to get your paws on the big bucks and make ends meet.

The player, for instance, who finished 100th on the LPGA money list this season earned $167,061 from 20 events. On the men’s PGA Tour, 100th place was worth $1.3 million. There’s plenty of work to do to close that particular gender gap but the LPGA Tour continues to make significant strides.

It’s no secret that LIV has women’s golf on its radar too but, for the time being, the LPGA is growing on its own terms. All the talk about money in golf this year, fuelled by LIV’s advance and the PGA Tour’s counter measures to hold the line, has generally been obnoxious and as tasteless as Siegfried & Roy’s soft furnishings. The rise in prize money on the female front, however, hopefully highlights something encouraging about the growth and popularity of the women’s game.

AND ANOTHER THING

A quick squint at the results from the DP World Tour’s qualifying school final always raises an eyebrow. Take the fall of Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard, for instance. No so long ago, he was in the top 50 of the world. In 2019, he finished tied 21st at the Masters and tied 16th at both the US PGA and The Open while he beat Tiger Woods in the WGC Matchplay. He’s now in a no-man’s land having finished a lowly 146th at q-school after a dismal run. It’s a pitiless business.


READ MORE: