As a bit of light relief from the gloomy tumult of the times we are living in, I had a leaf through some old horror stories the other night which stoked up some morale-boosting feelings of shock, dread and repugnance.

You can also experience similarly ghoulish sensations simply by reading the opening few paragraphs of the Tuesday column. Well, that’s what the sports editor grumbled as he lowered himself into his crypt with a resigned howl.

“Never did I behold a vision so horrible as his face, of such loathsome, yet appalling hideousness,” reads a line in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Or were they the startled, gasping words of The Herald’s photographer as he peered through his camera lens and snapped this correspondent’s tortured rictus for that picture byline you see up there? All that’s missing is a bolt through the neck.

Talking of abominations, it seems that the cash arms race that is disfiguring professional golf at the top level shows no sign of relenting. The recent announcement of another mighty financial shake-up by the PGA Tour was the latest counter-offensive against LIV Golf’s money-sodden rebellion.

Give it a few weeks and I reckon this battle for supremacy will eventually lead to PGA Tour heid honcho Jay Monahan and LIV supremo Greg Norman standing in a field and flinging rolled up wads of dollar bills at each other until one is left conked out by a direct hit and a winner is declared.

As of 2024, the PGA Tour will have several lucrative “designated events” with limited fields – between 70 and 80 players in some – and no 36-hole cuts.

As soon as the plans were unveiled, those on the LIV side laughed themselves hoarse with the same kind of withering guffaws that greeted Ash Regan’s plans for a “readiness thermometer” at the SNP’s leadership hustings the other day.

This no-cut, guaranteed money lark, of course, was the stick that was used to beat LIV with as loyalists of the established tours poured scorn on the competitive validity of the Saudi-backed series and its lack of jeopardy that gives pro golf its merciless cut-and-thrust. Now, the PGA Tour are, in certain areas, replicating bits of the LIV model and fighting fire with fire.

“Imitation is the greatest form of flattery,” came an opportunistic social media post from LIV’s official account as the renegades revelled in the irony.

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You can say what you want about LIV but their emergence has certainly spooked the PGA Tour out of their cosy complacency. The PGA circuit’s star players, with Rory McIlroy very much the statesman and spokesman of this rarefied coterie, are now running the show and are accelerating their push to increase their own earning power.

The onset of more no-cut events helps to protect that position while the presence of the big names for four days, even if some end up being 12 shots off the lead and going through the motions by the closing Sunday, will apparently keep the sponsors and the punters happy.

It’s hardly a novel idea, of course. Golf has had no-cut WGC events for years but the fact that particular model is being put out to pasture after a final edition takes place this season shows that limited field, guaranteed swag tournaments don’t necessarily thrive. Intrigue and excitement can’t be manufactured.

The strength of professional golf has always been in its ruthless simplicity. You play well, you pick up money and you advance your career. You play poorly, you don’t earn anything and you slither the other way. It’s a harsh, cut-throat old business and in this meritocracy, there’s always scope for an underdog to become a top dog, a nobody to become a somebody, a zero to become a hero or a David to down a Goliath.

I don’t know about you but I’ve never been particularly interested in these no-cut bean feasts on the basis that they go against the game’s competitive make-up. One of the most intoxicating days of golf in recent years was McIlroy’s bid to actually make the cut during The Open on his home turf of Northern Ireland in 2019. After his harrowing 79 in round one, McIlroy didn’t just have his back against the wall, he was almost embedded in the pointing.

During his rousing second-round 65, Portrush was consumed by a giddy, emotional cocktail of excitement, tension, hope and anguish as he tried to haul himself inside the qualifying mark. That he came up a shot shy of the cut added a final cruel yet captivating twist to this absorbing tale of valiant futility. It was thrilling theatre.

Now, I’m not saying that McIlroy will never have to fight to make a cut again – it is only a few of these new all-singing, all-dancing designated events we are talking about here, after all, – but we’d be naïve to think that there will not be more no-cut events in the future as player power grows, the rich get richer and the elite continue to look at ways of self-preservation.

The journeymen and rank-and-file, meanwhile, harbour increased concerns about two-tier systems and closed shops. With all this money swilling around, golf at the top of the men’s game is rapidly changing. Whether it’s for the better remains to be seen.