Well, here we are again, folks. Yet another Tuesday column that’s supposed to educate and entertain the nation with its erudite musings and meanderings, but instead inflicts itself upon the population with about as much charm as an outbreak of gastroenteritis on a Lochs & Glens bus tour.

But maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Perhaps, like some revered literary genius with a mighty portfolio of enduringly magnetic and challenging works, my weekly wafflings are actually critically acclaimed? The other day, after all, I overheard someone suggest that this column made them lose awareness of their existing surroundings and transported them to another place. “Aye, to another bloomin’ page in the supplement as quickly as possible,” hissed the sports editor. Oh well. If you’ve made it this far, you may as well stick it out.

I don’t know if you use social media much. To be honest, I wouldn’t blame you if you avoided it like a combined eruption of every plague imaginable. Take Twitter, for instance. Not so much a classy, scholarly platform for considered, nuanced debate, more a dank cave where hunched, slack-jawed troglodytes grunt and drool incomprehensibly. To be honest, that reads like I’ve just described the corner of my sitting room where your correspondent chisels out this page.

Anyway, the general absurdity of this social media lark -- and the absurdity of the golfing times we currently live in -- were illuminated by LIV Golf rebel Ian Poulter, who got his online knickers in a twist recently about, wait for it, the lack of a birthday greeting afforded to him and Sergio Garcia from Ryder Cup Europe’s own official Twitter account. Now, read that sentence again and ask yourself if we live in a sane society? Or you can read it back and say, “What the Dickens is Rodger prattling on about this week”?

For those of you sensible folk who are not ensnared by ruddy Twitter, let me briefly explain. The Ryder Cup Europe account posted an archive video of Francesco Molinari playing a nifty recovery shot from the 2018 contest under the caption “incredible touch”. All very innocent and innocuous, so you’d think. It wasn’t, however, for a clearly perturbed Poulter as he hurled a few toys out of the pram. Underneath said video, the former Ryder Cup talisman was quick to stick his tuppence worth in and bleated a reply. “What’s really an incredible touch,” he wrote in a fit of pique, “is the players that helped build the Ryder Cup brand. You just can’t bring yourself to say a simple Happy Birthday.”

Poulter had turned 47 on the day the Ryder Cup Europe digital team put out the harmless Molinari video. His fellow LIV defector and Ryder Cup mainstay, Garcia, had a birthday the day before and was given the cold shoulder too. Poulter took it upon himself to declare that this was an almighty snub to two stalwarts of Team Europe. The poor lambs.

In happier, simpler times before LIV came on the scene, of course, such a hum-drum occasion like Poulter hitting 47 or Garcia reaching 43 still would’ve generated some cutesy, cutesy social media content – or a shout-out as the kids call it – from that Ryder Cup Europe account. There would, perhaps, have been a brief video montage of their greatest moments in the transatlantic tussle accompanied by a cheery little caption and a salute to European unity while all and sundry would type “happy birthday Sergio you legend” and “aww, we love you Poults”. And then we’d all move merrily along to the next banality.

But that was then and this is now. In the LIV era, the likes of Poulter and Garcia remain persona non grata as far as the European Tour Group, which runs the Ryder Cup on this side of the pond, are concerned. As a result, we get a grown man parading his anger about not getting a birthday cake emoji on his social media timeline. Golf historians of the future will probably look back on this period in the game and choke on their own brains at the ridiculousness of it all.

The absence of Poulter and Garcia from official tour communications, along with other decorated Ryder Cup linchpins and now ostracised LIV renegades like Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell, underlines the prickly, and frankly petty, state of affairs we find ourselves in at the top end of the men’s professional game.

In the eyes of Poulter, the perceived birthday slight was another example of the tour attempting to airbrush certain players out of the history books in the wake of their controversial defection to LIV. But then what did he expect? Poulter and others gleefully took the Saudi shilling when the vast carrot was dangled in front of them despite knowing there would be various repercussions, whether in the form of reputational damage and tour suspensions right down to the utter triviality of not getting a social media mention upon reaching that great milestone of, er, 47.

In the LIV age, it seems you can’t have your birthday cake and eat it.